September 18, 2019 / 5:22 PM / a month ago

Greta Thunberg: From teen climate activist to leader of global movement

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has inspired a global movement for climate change, delivered a pointed message before a U.S. congressional hearing on Wednesday: “I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists.”

The 16-year-old founder of the “Fridays For Future” weekly school walkouts to demand government climate-change action submitted a 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the hearing in lieu of testimony.

It urged rapid, unprecedented changes to the way people live in order to keep temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) by 2030.

Over the past year, Thunberg has risen from a solitary protester to a leading figure in an international fight against climate change.

Here is a timeline on how the “Fridays for Future” movement of weekly school strikes turned global:

August 20, 2018: Swedish student Thunberg, then aged 15, skips school to protest outside parliament for more action against climate change.

August 26, 2018: She is joined by fellow students, teachers and parents at another protest and begins attracting media attention for her climate campaign.

September 2018: Thunberg begins a regular ‘strike’ from classes every Friday to protest climate issues. She invites other students to join her weekly “Fridays for Future” campaign by staging walkouts at their own schools.

FILE PHOTO: Sixteen year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg testifies at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee and House Select Climate Crisis Committee joint hearing on "Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis" on Capitol Hill in Washington U.S., September 18, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

November 2018: More than 17,000 students in 24 countries take part in Friday school strikes. Thunberg begins speaking at high-profile events across Europe, including United Nations climate talks in Poland.

February 2019: Protests directly inspired by Thunberg take place across more than 30 countries, from Sweden to Brazil, India and the United States.

March 2019: Thunberg is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. The number of students taking part in school strikes hits more than 2 million people across 135 countries.

May 2019: Thunberg is named one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine, appearing on its cover. “Now I am speaking to the whole world,” she wrote on Twitter.

July 2019: Conservative and far-right lawmakers urge a boycott of Thunberg’s appearance in French parliament, mocking her as a “guru of the apocalypse” and a “Nobel prize of fear.”

Aug. 1, 2019: Thunberg hits back at “hate and conspiracy campaigns” after she was described as a “deeply disturbed messiah” leading a “cult” in an opinion column by conservative Australian commentator Andrew Bolt.

Aug. 5, 2019: Some 450 young “Fridays for Future” climate activists from 37 European countries gather for a summit in Lausanne, Switzerland to discuss the movement’s development and work on international cooperation.

Aug. 14, 2019: Thunberg sets sail from Britain for the United States to take part in a United Nations climate summit. Meanwhile, the total number of climate strikers reaches 3.6 million people across 169 countries.

FILE PHOTO: Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and other environmental advocates join Washington DC-area students at a rally on the Ellipse near the White House in Washington U.S., September 13, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

Aug. 28, 2019: Thunberg arrives at New York Harbor in a zero-carbon emissions vessel, completing a near-140 day journey from England to take part in a UN climate summit.

Sept. 13, 2019: Thunberg takes her mission to U.S. President Donald Trump’s doorstep with a protest outside the White House.

Sept. 18, 2019: Thunberg is one of four students invited to a U.S. congressional hearing to provide the next generation’s views on climate change. Later, she joins seven young Americans who have sued the U.S. government for failing to take action on climate change on the steps of the Supreme Court.

Reporting by Bernadette Baum; additional reporting by Liam Gould of Thomson Reuters Foundation; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Marguerita Choy

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