Svante Thunberg, Greta Thunberg’s father, revealed during a recent media interview that he initially thought what she was doing with her far-left activism was a “bad idea” and that he and his wife were “not” supportive of it.
In the interview with BBC Radio 4 Today released Sunday, Thunberg also notably referenced climate change as a “question,” suggesting he is not as bought in on his daughter’s cause as she is.
“She decided to do this. We said quite clearly that we would not support it,” Thunberg said. “Well, obviously we thought it was a bad idea, putting yourself out there with all the hate on social media and the idea of your own daughter sort of putting herself on the very front line of such a huge question like climate change.”
The BBC asked, “So, it’s not that you have pushed her to do this? Because that question often gets asked of young people in the public eye … you haven’t pushed her to do this?”
“No, on the contrary, we said if you are going to do it then you’re going to have to do it by yourself, you’re going to have to be incredibly well prepared, you have to have all the answers to all the questions and she says ‘OK’,” Thunberg responded. “So she made this leaflet of like 35 facts and with all the sources to all the facts, to all the reports and stuff and she had those leaflets on the ground and whenever the journalists came along she would answer all their questions and that was the surprising thing because she didn’t speak to anyone at the time. She only spoke to me, my wife, her sister, and one of the teachers.”
Thunberg also opened up about the depression that his daughter has struggled with and how crippling it was to her life.
“Like 3 or 4 years before she went on the school strike she fell ill and she stopped talking, she stopped eating, and all these things,” Thunberg said. “She stopped going to school, she was basically home for a year and she didn’t eat for 3 months or 2.5 months, which of course was the ultimate nightmare as a parent. You have food and you need food to survive, and your child can’t eat it.”
“Is there ever a moment when you think, I would just like us to go back to being an ordinary family before all of this began?” the BBC asked. “Or do you have the same sense of purpose that she does?”
“I can see Greta is very happy from doing this and I saw where she was before, I mean she didn’t speak to a single person, she could only eat in her own home, and when she went on the school strike, I think day 3, someone came along and gave her like Pad Thai vegan and she ate it and that was like, I can not explain how much, what a change that meant to her and to us and it was just like she changed and she could do things that she could never have done before and now she’s just like any other,” Thunberg responded. “You think she’s not ordinary now because she’s special and she’s very famous and all these things but to me she’s now an ordinary child. She can do all the things like other people can and she’s happy. She dances around, she laughs a lot, we have a lot of fun and she’s in a very good place.”
Svante Thunberg, father of @GretaThunberg, talks to us about the journey his daughter has been on – from a time when she rarely left the house or spoke to anyone outside her family, to campaigning globally on climate change. https://t.co/wMHvNpJoQG #r4today pic.twitter.com/WQdDNZS86X
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) December 30, 2019