Greta Thunberg, or, to use her full name, Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg, is perhaps the most famous 18 year old in the world. The inspirational activist has achieved so much despite her tender years and at an age when many of us were drinking in parks or playing computer games, she was busy being named Time magazine Person of 2019, being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and generally changing the world for the better.
Despite these achievements, the young Swede has been attacked by many for a wide range of things and one of the biggest criticisms of her is that she is a hypocrite who only talks a good game. It has to be assumed that the vast majority of her detractors are climate change deniers, pro-business politicians who are scared of an environmental revolution and others with vested interests. We are not here to assess the merits of her arguments in general (though they make sense to us!) but instead we are more concerned with the issue of whether or not she is vegan.
On this issue we can say that Greta does very much walk the walk and, yes, Greta Thunberg is vegan. We have looked at other famous environmentalists, such as David Attenborough, as well as celebrities with green credentials, such as Leonardo DiCaprio. Sometimes it is hard to be sure whether certain people are vegan or not but when it comes to Stockholm’s most famous eco daughter, we can categorically state that yes, she is indeed vegan.
Key Greta Facts
- Yes, Greta Thunberg is vegan
- She was born in Stockholm, Sweden on 3rd January, 2003
- She has been vegan from around the age of 10
- Her father is now also vegan and her mother, an opera singer, is reportedly “90% vegan”
- One of her middle names is Tintin (not in any way relevant, but hey!)
- In 2018, aged 15, she pioneered the school strikes in protest against what she calls the climate emergency
- Later in 2018, she spoke at the UN Climate Change Conference
- She was made the 2019 Time Magazine Person of the Year
- She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 and 2020
- She has developed a friendship with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist who opposed the Taliban
She Convinced Her Parents to Become Vegan
Naturally, parents tend to have a larger influence on their children than the younger generation has on those who raised them. Greta being the superhero that she is, however, it is debatable whether this was the case in her household. Often children may be vegan due to their parents, either simply because that is the food they were given or because they chose for themselves but on the basis of the way their parents raised them.
At Chez Thunberg, though, Malena Ernman, Greta’s mother, and Svante Thunberg, her father, were badgered, seemingly, by Greta into becoming vegan. It is reported that her dad is entirely vegan with her mum not far behind. In December 2019, her parents said they went vegan, alongside making other green lifestyle changes, in order to “save” their daughter as they knew how much the environmental cause meant to her.
Greta has no doubts at all about the environmental benefits of veganism… and nor do we. Her parents have made these changes over a period of time following the serious illness and depression that their daughter suffered. Prior to her activism, Greta suffered with depression for “three or four years” according to father Svante. The BBC reported that “Greta got ‘energy’ from her parents’ changes in behaviour to become more environmentally friendly – such as her mother choosing not to travel by aeroplane and her father becoming vegan.” They also quoted Svante as saying, “I did all these things, I knew they were the right thing to do… but I didn’t do it to save the climate, I did it to save my child.”
When Did Greta Thunberg Become Vegan?
We know that her father and mother made these changes between around 2017 and 2019 but what of Greta herself? Well, she first entered the public consciousness in late summer 2018 following her Skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for climate). Later that year, as a 15 year old, she gave a remarkable speech which you can see and hear in full below.
In it she used the memorable phrase “you are never too small to make a difference” (she later wrote a book, No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference) and this is very important to remember. It is all too easy to believe that our acts as individuals will not have an impact. However, even one person going vegan will save hundreds of animals over their lifetime and have a considerable positive impact on the environment.
But, of course, it is when hundreds, thousands and even millions of people come together that we can really see the weight of the collective actions of the individuals. And with more and more people becoming vegan, it is clear that Greta, her parents and all vegans are helping in the fight against climate change.
Pinpointing exactly when Greta became a vegan is impossible but we know that she first became interested in environmental issues when she was aged 10. She explains this in the clip below. (Tip for you: don’t listen past about 50 seconds because she doesn’t actually talk about veganism, despite the rather misleading title, unless you want to hear some of her other views, of course!)
It is reported that her first attempts to persuade her parents to go vegan were made at around the age of 15. Based on that, we can say with a high degree of certainty that she herself adopted a plant-based lifestyle sometime between the ages of 10 and 15. Given how passionate and committed she is and the very narrow focus she has, it is probably safe to assume it was at the younger end of that spectrum.
Indeed, according to her entry at the online version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica it may have even been younger. There it states that “She first learned about the issue (climate change) when she was approximately eight years old, and within a few years she changed her own habits, becoming a vegan and refusing to travel by airplane.”
Obviously, that contradicts somewhat Greta’s own testimony that she first became aware of the climate emergency aged “maybe 10 years old”. Anyway, Greta’s a hero so let’s not split hairs: she probably became vegan aged around 10 or 11. They key point is that, yes, Greta Thunberg is definitely vegan!