Despite History of Promoting His Children, Greta Thunberg’s Dad Claims He Did Not Always Support Her Activism

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The news media is promoting the story Svante Thunberg is telling about how he was reluctant at first to back his daughter Greta Thunberg’s climate change activism until he saw that it helped her tackle depression, autism, and other health and social challenges.

CNN is one of many news outlets that picked up the story:

In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today program Monday, Svante Thunberg revealed that by skipping school and staging Friday sit-ins outside the Swedish parliament, Greta was not only battling climate change but also the crippling depression that had plagued her for up to four years.

“She stopped talking, she stopped eating, and all these things,” Svante Thunberg said of Greta’s period of illness, speaking on a program guest-edited by the 16-year-old activist.

“She stopped going to school. She was basically home for a year, she didn’t eat for three months,” the 50-year-old said of what he described as “the ultimate nightmare as a parent.”


Svante Thunberg and his wife, opera singer Malena Ernman, stopped working to look after Greta. When she told them she wanted to become an activist, both said “quite clearly that we would not support it,” worried that she was “putting herself out there on the frontline with such a huge question like climate change.”

“We are not climate activists, we never were,” Svante Thunberg said in the CNN report.

But it is clear that Svante Thunberg and Malena Ernman are experts when it comes to promoting their children.

A book due out in 2020 was authored by both of them, Greta, and her sister Beata Ernman Thunberg.

Penguin is publishing the book entitled, Our House Is on Fire

This is the story of a family led to confront a crisis they had never foreseen. Of a happy life with two young daughters which suddenly falters, never to be the same again. Aged eleven, the eldest stops eating and speaking, and her younger sister struggles to cope. Slowly, alongside diagnoses of autism and selective mutism, their desperate parents become aware of another source for their firstborn daughter’s distress: her imperilled future on a rapidly heating planet.

Steered by her determination to understand the truth, the family begins to see the deep connections between their own and the planet’s suffering. Against forces that try to silence them, disparaging them for being different, they discover ways to strengthen, heal, and act in the world. And then, one day, fifteen-year-old Greta decides to go on strike.


Leftwing activist and author Naomi Klein wrote about the book:

An extraordinary account of how one family rose, with unshakable moral clarity, to the tremendous responsibility of being alive at the moment when our immediate collective decisions will determine the fate of life on Earth. They share their story of courage not because they want our accolades, but because they demand our company. Greta Thunberg has already inspired a global moment – this book is part of how we will win.


In fact, the family authored a previous book about Beata Ernman Thunberg. reported:

The first was Malena’s autobiography, Scenes from the Heart, which takes place as Malena and her family tour Europe to promote Ernman’s singing career. It covers a tumultuous time where Greta and Beata both start falling victim to their mental health disorders.

But in the BBC report, Svante Thunberg said he just wanted to help Greta.

“I didn’t do it to save the climate, I did it to save my child,” Svanet Thunberg said.

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