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The transformation of Greta Thunberg
Words: Simon Hattenstone
Portraits: Marcus Ohlsson

Sat 25 Sep 2021 08.00 BST

Greta Thunberg has made the ultimate sacrifice for the Guardian. She’s allowed us to turn her into a human oil spillage. The treacly black stuff is dripping from her hair, down her nose, past her cheeks on to her neck and shoulders.

Down, down, down it drips. By the time we speak on Zoom, a day later, she has just about got herself cleaned up. Has she ever been covered in oil before? (It’s actually a mixture of non-toxic finger paint and olive oil.) “No,” she says. This is a typical Thunberg answer – short, factual, to the point. She never likes to waste her words. How did it feel? “It felt better than I thought it would feel. I had a ribbon on my hair to not get my hair black, but then it spilt through the ribbon so my hair was completely black. It was very difficult to get off.” I suggest that she sues the Guardian. “Yes,” she says. Thunberg isn’t smiling.

We talk first thing on a Sunday. Look at Thunberg and she seems little changed – still elfin-like and earnest; still quoting the climate science with fastidious politeness; and still with that curious mix of pessimism (we’re doomed if we don’t act) and optimism (we can avert catastrophe if we do). But, as she relaxes, I begin to discover that this is a very different Thunberg from the one she presented to the public in 2018. While she has done much to change our perspective of the world, the world has done much to change her – and, she says, for the better. Despite the climate crisis deepening by the day, Greta Thunberg has learned how to be happy.

Read in Full:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2021/sep/25/greta-thunberg-i-really-see-the-value-of-friendship-apart-from-the-climate-almost-nothing-else-matters

Thunberg and her mother, opera singer Malena Ernman. Photograph: Malin Hoelstad/SvD/PA


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