Greta Thunberg’s Father, Svante Thunberg: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Getty Greta and Svante Thunberg in 2018.

A new documentary on Greta Thunberg is releasing on Hulu on November 13 called I Am Greta. Her father, Svante Thunberg, is featured in the movie. He and his daughter are very close.

Here’s what you need to know about Svante Thunberg.


1. Last Year He Said His Daughter Was Happy, But He Was Worried About Her

GettySvante Thunberg, father of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, in 2019.

When Greta Thunberg skipped school for a climate strike, her father Svante Thunberg said he wasn’t supportive of that decision. He said that while she’s been happier since becoming a climate change activist, he was worried about her being on the front line battle, BBC reported.

As she became more passionate about climate change, she accused her parents of being hypocrites, he said. So they became more environmentally cautious, which helped Greta become even more passionate about her cause. But, as Svante told BBC: “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.”

He said that Greta’s involvement in climate activism made her much happier, but he was worried about the hate that might follow her around from “fake news.”

He said she personally handles it very well and just laughs about everything.


2. Greta Thunberg’s Dad & Mom Put Aside Everything When She Struggled So Much That She Stopped Eating

GettyGreta and her father in 2018.

Svante said that for a time, Greta had struggled with depression for several years and had stopped going to school and had stopped talking, BBC reported. He said she started refusing to eat and it was “the ultimate nightmare for a parent.”

Svante began spending more time with her and sister Beata in order to try to help her. Her mother, Malena Ernman, canceled singing events so she could come back home too. She had been diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 12, BBC reported. But the depression was a new issue.

At one point, it go so bad that she had a panic attack and screamed for 40 minutes, Ernman wrote in The Guardian, and Greta wanted to know if she would ever get better.


3. He & His Daughter Sailed for Two Weeks from England to New York

Greta doesn’t fly by plane because of the impact on the climate, The Local reported. So when she attended a UN climate change conference in New York in late 2019, she sailed there on the Malizia II. Pierre Casiraghi, son of Princess Caroline of Monaco, offered her a ride on his boat. She then sailed back on the catamaran La Vagabonde. Svante Thunberg sailed with his daughter on the long journey, BBC reported.


4. Svante Thunberg Is an Actor & Producer

GettySwedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, and father Svante Thunberg arrive in the US after a 15-day journey in 2019.

Svante Thunberg is an actor and producer, The Local reported. His wife and Greta’s mother, Malena Ernman, is an opera singer. According to his IMDb, he was in the Swedish TV series SkärgårdsdoktornThis loosely translates to The Archipelago Doctor and ran from 1997 to 2000.


5. He Gave Up His Career So His Wife Could Continue Her Opera Career

GettyGreta Thunberg

Before Greta Thunberg’s father and mother put everything aside for their daughter when she was struggling with depression, Svante Thunberg had already put most of his career aside to help his wife when she was pregnant.

In a column for The Guardian, Ernman shared that Thunberg was acting in three theaters and she was booked for years of opera house gigs when she was pregnant with Greta. But Thunberg told her: “You’re one of the best in the world at what you do. And as for me, I am more like a bass player in the Swedish theatre and can very easily be replaced. Not to mention you earn so damned much more than I do.”

Thunberg began referring to himself as a “housewife” and fully supported Ernman’s career and for 12 years, that’s how the family operated. They would travel for her events and he raised their two daughters. (Beata was born three years after Greta.) When Greta became depressed, the couple canceled everything to focus on their daughters.

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