Smith posted a photo of Thunberg on Instagram and wrote in the caption: “This is/Greta Thunberg, turning/seventeen today, asking/for no accolade, no gifts,/save we not be neutral./ The Earth knows its kind,/ just as all deities, just as/animals and the healing/spring. Happy birthday/to Greta, who stood today,/as every Friday, refusing/ to be neutral.”
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This is Greta Thunberg, turning seventeen today, asking for no accolade, no gifts, save we not be neutral. The Earth knows its kind, just as all deities, just as animals and the healing spring. Happy birthday to Greta, who stood today, as every Friday, refusing to be neutral.
The final lines of Smith’s poem refer to Thunberg’s climate strike, which she began in August 2018 when she refused to go to school and instead sat outside the Swedish parliamentary building with her famous “Skolstrejk för klimatet [school strike for the climate]” sign. While Thunberg eventually returned to school, her strike evolved into the #FridaysForFuture protest, which finds her returning to the Swedish parliament every Friday to demand action on the climate crisis.
Just as Smith’s poem alluded to, Thunberg spent her 17th birthday outside the Swedish parliament. On Twitter, she posted a photo of herself, holding her sign, with the caption, “School strike week 72.”
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) January 3, 2020
In an interview with Rolling Stone last year, Thunberg spoke about her hopes for her movement, although remained frank about the unlikelihood that she’d be able to stop speaking out about the climate crisis: “In five years, I hope I don’t work on the climate because that would mean that everything is OK. But I probably will, and many other people will because of where we are at. We see the consequences of it today, and we will see it more clearly then.”