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Greta Thunberg addresses climate strikers at Civic Center Park in Denver.
Image: Flickr/Streetsblog Denver/Andy Bosselman
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Tracking Greta Thunberg's Rise From Climate Activist to COVID-19 Campaigner

By Lin Taylor and Thin Lei Win 

LONDON, April 13 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — Climate activist Greta Thunberg this week said she would skip the United Nations climate conference due to be held in Scotland in November over concerns that inequality of access to COVID-19 vaccines will leave many countries unable to attend.

Thunberg shot to fame in 2018 when she began a solitary protest against global warming outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm, skipping her Friday school classes to demand her government take action on climate change.

Here is a timeline of Thunberg's rise from a solo climate striker to a global campaigner against COVID-19:

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

Aug. 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.

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 UN climate talks in Poland.

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.

thunberg- embed 1.jpgGreta Thunberg at the European Parliament. Image: Flickr/European Parliament




July 2019: Conservative and far-right lawmakers urge a boycott of Thunberg's appearance in the 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.

August 2019: Thunberg, who refuses to fly, sails from Britain to the United States in a zero-emissions boat to take part in a UN climate summit. Meanwhile, the number of climate strikers reaches 3.6 million people across 169 countries.

Sept. 23, 2019: Thunberg delivers a blistering speech to leaders at the UN summit, accusing them of having "stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."

Sept. 25, 2019: Thunberg is named as one of four winners of the 2019 Right Livelihood Award, known as Sweden's alternative Nobel Prize.    

Oct. 4, 2019: Thunberg denounces the New York climate talks as "a failure" but urges supporters to keep pushing for change at a climate strike in Iowa.    

Oct. 11, 2019: Despite being bookies' favorite to win, Thunberg misses out on the Nobel Peace Prize, which goes to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.    

Related Stories April 9, 2021 Greta Thunberg Explains Why Vaccine Nationalism Is a Threat to True Climate Justice

November 2019: Caught out by a last-minute switch of location for UN climate talks from Chile to Spain, Thunberg hitches a ride on a catamaran boat crossing back to Europe.    

Dec. 11, 2019: Thunberg denounces "clever accounting and creative PR" to mask a lack of real action on climate change in a speech at the UN COP25 summit as the 16-year-old became the youngest individual to be Time magazine's person of the year.

March 13, 2020: As governments limit or ban mass gatherings to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, Thunberg urges students to make week 82 of the school strike digital, with the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline.

March 24, 2020: Thunberg says the swift measures brought in to stem the coronavirus pandemic show that the world can also take the rapid action needed to curb climate change. She also says on social media that she may have caught COVID-19.

April 22, 2020: Thunberg says the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is the time to choose "a new way forward" and tackle the coronavirus and climate change at the same time.

April 30, 2020: Thunberg donates a $100,000 award she received to UNICEF to buy soap, masks, and gloves to protect children from the coronavirus pandemic.

June 5, 2020: Thunberg and Fridays For Future launch a crowdfunding campaign to help communities in Brazil's Amazon rainforest during the COVID-19 crisis.

July 14, 2020: Thunberg joins others in calling for a repeal of the Philippines' new Terror Law, which she said threatens environmental and climate activists in the country.

July 20, 2020: Thunberg wins the first Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity and donates the 1 million euro prize money to charitable organizations.

Jan. 31, 2021: Thunberg is again nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and the World Health Organization.

April 9, 2021: The activist announces she will not attend COP26 in Glasgow, due to run Nov. 1 to 12, because of concerns over vaccine inequality.

April 13, 2021: The British Broadcasting Corporation airs a documentary series about Thunberg and her climate activism, featuring British broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough.

Related Stories Sept. 10, 2019 Greta Thunberg: 10 Quotes From The Climate Activist

(Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink and Liam Gould, Editing by Tom Finn. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)