Greta Thunberg has said in an interview that she does not want to go into politics, calling it too "toxic". In an interview with the BBC, the prominent climate crisis activist also described being seen as the face of a global movement as "too much responsibility" for a teenager to take on.
Thunberg is no stranger to vitriol aimed in her direction. She has been subject to abuse from both anonymous Internet trolls and prominent (often controversial, occasionally presidential) media figures. She's been subject to jokes about her appearance, her delivery of speech in a second language, and even likened to a nazi because she braids her hair, often when she was still only a 15 or 16-year-old child.
Thunberg told the BBC in a recent interview that she found being targeted by world leaders on Twitter "genuinely funny".
"I mean, the most powerful people in the world feel intimidated by teenagers," she said. "That is funny. It says more about them than it does about me."
She has said similar sentiments in the past, while also trying to take focus away from herself as the face of the strike for climate movement.
"It seems they will cross every possible line to avert the focus, since they are so desperate not to talk about the climate and ecological crisis. Being different is not an illness and the current, best available science is not opinions – it’s facts," she wrote on Twitter after one particularly vitriolic week.
Thunberg has continuously tried to move the focus her school strike movement brought on her to the climate crisis she was, and still is, protesting. The upcoming COP27 climate conference in Egypt next month will not see her in attendance.
"I'm not needed there," she told the BBC. "There will be other people who will attend, from the most affected areas. And I think that their voice there is more important."
In terms of the unfolding climate crisis, Thunberg told the BBC that she continues to believe that "overall we are still speeding in the wrong direction" and that time is running out.
"We don't have time for these small steps in the right direction. We don't have time to reach net zero by 2050," she said in the 45-minute interview, available to UK watchers on BBC iPlayer.
"When it comes to the climate crisis moving slowly is the same thing as losing. We can't really compromise with the laws of physics, either we go on as a civilization or we don't."
Don't miss an exclusive excerpt of Greta Thunberg's new book The Climate Book in Issue 4 of our new digital magazine CURIOUS out on October 30. Subscribe to our newsletter and get CURIOUS delivered straight to your inbox for free each month. Issue 3 is out now.