Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg has spoken of the “gift” of living with Asperger’s syndrome and how it helps her to “see things from outside the box”.
The 16-year-old won even more fans as she spoke of being on the spectrum, and how a school lesson on climate change and its devastating effects on wildlife and the oceans sparked her passion for the cause.
Speaking to Nick Robinson on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the schoolgirl said it helped her to see things in “black and white”.
How beautiful to hear Greta Thunberg talking about #autism as a gift and pointing out that society is stronger when it embraces difference. This simple message is as important as her stance on the environment #r4today— Ian Birrell (@ianbirrell) April 23, 2019
“It makes me different, and being different is a gift, I would say.
“It also makes me see things from outside the box. I don’t easily fall for lies, I can see through things.
“If I had been like everyone else, I wouldn’t have started the school strike. I don’t think I would be interested in the climate at all, if I had been like everyone else.”
She continued: “Many people say that it doesn’t matter, you can cheat sometimes. But I can’t do that. You can’t be a little bit sustainable. Either you’re sustainable, or not sustainable.”
Thunberg made the decision to strike off school between August and September last year, following heatwaves and wildfires in her home country of Sweden.
Her actions have inspired masses of children around the world to stage school strikes for the climate one day a month.
Thunberg said 1.6 million schoolchildren had taken part so far, a figure she said she could not take in.
At age 11, Thunberg became “very depressed”.
“It had a lot to do with the climate and ecological crisis. I thought everything was just so wrong and nothing was happening and there’s no point in anything,” she told Robinson.
But it was her realisation that she could make a...