Hopeful, passionate and completely fearless, Greta Thunberg is quickly becoming the face of climate change awareness. The teenage climate activist became a household name after a school-wide strike ignited an international sensation, inspiring millions of young people to stand up to the environmental crisis plaguing the planet we all share. Since those first days of solitary protests outside of the Swedish Parliament, Thunberg has continued to be an example for climate activism. From taking a zero-emissions sailboat for two weeks to attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit to publicly putting the world’s leading politicians on blast, it appears that the 16-year-old is just getting started. Now, her inspirational efforts will be explored in a new Greta Thunberg documentary by Hulu.
Hulu recently announced that the original documentary on 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg will be released sometime in 2020. Directed by Nathan Grossman and tentatively titled Greta, the documentary will follow the young activist beginning in August 2018, when she single-handedly started a climate-focused strike in her school in Stockholm, Sweden at the age of 15. The strike and its passion-fueled message made headlines around the world; seemingly overnight, the young girl was catapulted into the spotlight at the center of the climate crisis stage.
Thunberg is the daughter of opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg and a distant relative of Svante Arrhenius, a scientist who came up with a model of the greenhouse effect and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903. Thunberg’s passion for the environment was clear from an early age (she even convinced her parents to become vegan), and she said that she first learned about climate change at the age of eight. She told Time that after finding out what exactly climate change was, she thought, “That can’t be happening, because if that were happening, then the politicians would be taking care of it.”
In May 2018, just three months after winning a local newspaper contest with an essay on climate change, she began protesting weekly in front of the Swedish parliament building with a sign simply reading “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (Swedish for “school strike for climate”). Her mission was to convince the government to meet the carbon emissions goal that had been set out by the Paris Climate Agreement, requiring governments to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise. By December, there were more than 20,000 students following suit using the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, with millions more from 150 countries around the world joining in shortly after.
Thunberg quickly graduated to internationally covered protests, touring North America while attending rallies, meeting with world leaders and, most famously, speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit (which went viral soon after) and the COP25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Part of her impassioned message during the Climate Action Summit addressed her frustration at politicians for ignoring the signs of climate change and placing the burden on young people.
“How dare you. I shouldn’t be up here,” she said. “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. We will be watching you.”
The teenager took almost all of the 2019 school year off in order to attend the UN summit in New York as well as the annual Climate Change Conference in Madrid.
Thunberg made history again when she became nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize by two lawmakers in her home country of Sweden. She was named 2019’s Person of the Year by Time, the youngest person with the honor in the 92-year history of the award.
After fearlessly going to bat with the likes of President Trump and Vladimir Putin, she has received an outpouring of support from fans including Michelle Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio. The famously public Twitter feud between the President and Thunberg escalated when President Trump suggested she “chill,” “work on her anger management problem” and go to “a good old fashioned movie with a friend,” leading the 16-year-old to quickly update her Twitter bio to say she was “a teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.” The spat even was featured in a “Saturday Night Live” cold open shortly after, with Kate McKinnon playing Thunberg.
The team responsible for the documentary has been following Thunberg from her initial school strikes in Sweden through her more recent evolution into a world-famous face of climate change. So, you can expect to see a deeper dive into all of the above events in the Greta Thunberg documentary. Produced by Cecilia Nessen and Frederik Heinig of B-Reel Films, the production of the film is unsurprisingly an international affair. The documentary is co-produced by WDR of Germany, France Télévisions of France, BBC of the U.K., SVT of Sweden, DR of Denmark, YLE of Finland, NRK of Norway and Hulu of the U.S. Greta will also be sold internationally by distributor Dogwoof, which recently boarded the documentary.
“Greta goes well beyond the subject of climate change,” Anne Godas, CEO of Dogwoof, told Variety. “It’s about young people accepting themselves as they are, believing they can change the world, and celebrating being different from the rest. As a mother of two young girls, I can’t think of a better inspiration for them.”
Images via Lev Radin, Per Grunditz and Roland Marconi / Shutterstock