Malena Ernman, Greta Thunberg’s Mother: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Malena Ernman

Getty Malena Ernman of Sweden, performs during the final of the Eurovision Song Contest on May 16, 2009 in Moscow, Russia.

Greta Thunberg has quickly become a household name. The teenaged climate change activist from Sweden received global attention after addressing the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the COP24 climate talks. Her impact reached the United States on Thursday when she inspired a world-wide school walkout for kids and teens to bring attention and action to climate change.

15-year-old Thunberg, who is autistic, rose to fame as a new, major player in the climate change discussion, and that sudden spotlight has come with it an international intrigue into her personal life and how she was raised. Fans of Thunberg have sought out more information about the family that raised her use her voice to make a difference, while critics have surmised that Thunberg’s actions are a direct result of her parents’ teachings.

Greta was raised by her father, Svante Thunberg, and her mother, Malena Ernman.

Here’s what you need to know about Greta Thunburg’s mother, Malena Ernman:


1. Malena Is a Swedish Opera Singer & Actress

By profession, Ernman is a mezzo-soprano opera singer and soloist.

According to her Facebook page’s bio, she studied singing at Conservatoire de Musique in Orléans, France, the University College of Opera in Stockholm, and Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

Greta’s father Svante is an actor, and Malena also has a number of professional acting credits. According to IMDb, she has appeared in a number of TV movies, and most recently had a role in an episode of the TV series The Simple Heist in 2017. He singing has also earned her spots in the soundtracks of the films The Truth About Emmanuel and The Hunter.


2. She Tried Going Vegan (at Greta’s Request) & Is a Vegetarian

Greta Thunberg: Eating Meat Is "Stealing Her Generation's Future"Read more here: https://www.plantbasednews.org/news/vegan-greta-thunberg-made-parents-feel-guilty-eating-meat-dairy2019-09-27T13:59:01.000Z

It is well-known that Greta is vegan for the sake of the environment, but it was Greta who made that dietary choice and enacted it on the rest of her family, not the other way around.

In an interview with Plant Based News, Greta talked about how she went about convincing her parents to become vegan for the sake of the planet. She said it was hard to convince them to change their diets at first, because “They were like, ‘don’t worry, someone will invent something in the future – people have this under control’.” Continuing, she said “But the more I read about this, the more I realized we don’t have this under control, so then I started to become worried, and I talked to my parents about it. I kept showing them articles and graphs…and they were like everyone else…they always had excuses.”

Finally, Greta revealed how she convinced them to make a change: “But then I made them feel so guilty…I kept telling them that they were stealing our future and they cannot stand up for human rights while living that lifestyle, so then they decided to make those changes. My dad is vegan, my mom, she tries – she’s 90 percent vegan.”

Malena describes herself as a vegetarian.


3. She Authored the Memoir ‘Scenes From the Heart’

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#Repost @planbokssmart.se with @get_repost ・・・ Det här är en bok som alla borde läsa. En bok som inte förskönar den klimatKRIS vi befinner oss i. En bok skakar om mitt inre och får mig att, igen, vilja springa in till våra politiker som just nu sitter i sandlådan och diskuterar vem som ska leda landet, ruska de hårt och skrika att det spelar ingen roll vem som har statsminister präntat på sitt visitkort, det finns viktigare saker att lösa, NU! Men det är också en bok som ger mig tröst och hopp. En bok om kampen om att få en familjs vardag att fungera. När jag sjukskrevs för utmattning blev min räddning att berätta om min resa, hitta andra som delade min historia. På samma sätt hittar jag styrka i Malenas berättelse. Mina barn har ingen diagnos. Men det har det senaste året blivit allt tydligare att den ständiga kamp som min familj har för att få vår vardag att gå runt inte är en kamp som alla småbarnsföräldrar har. En kamp som tillsammans med utmattning och jobbstress ibland känns övermäktig att klara. Min kamp kan inte jämföras med den kamp Malena har haft för sina barn, men den ger mig ändå stöd och tröst. Vi är inte ensamma. Det är ett tragiskt samhälle som Malena beskriver att hon har mött, ett samhälle som skördar offer, barn, vuxna, hon och jag. Ett samhälle jag inte vill ha eller vara en del av. Men boken ger mig ändå, ur det perspektivet, hopp. Och styrka. För ju fler som vågar beskriva den vardag de lever i, en vardag som inte passar in i samhällets normer, ju mer kraft ger det till oss andra, oavsett var vi befinner oss på skalan. Kraft att förändra. Tack @malena_ernman, för din styrka, din ärlighet, din öppenhet och din kamp. #plånbokssmart #hållbarlivsstil #scenerurhjärtat

A post shared by Malena Ernman (@malena_ernman) on

In August 2018, Malena published a memoir about her family entitled Scenes From the Heart.

On NoFlyClimateSci.org, Ernman mentions the book in her bio, describing it as “autobiography that is really a climate novel in disguise… It focuses on the wider ongoing sustainability crises.”

Malena, her husband, and her two daughters wrote a second book together, entitled Our House Is on Fire; according to Penguin Books, it will be released on May 3, 2020. In their description of the upcoming novel, they reveal “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.”


4. Both of Her Children Were Diagnosed With Autism

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Det är ingen hemlighet att jag har försökt att stå upp för viktiga frågor under årens lopp. Frågor som för mig och Svante bottnar i den humanism vi båda tror på. Men sen jag tvingades av mina två döttrar att sätta mig in i klimatfrågan så ändrades hela min världsbild. Allt vändes upp och ner tills jag till slut insåg att alla andra frågor bleknade till ingenting vid sidan av den akuta, existentiella kris vi står inför. Och det vill inte säga lite med tanke på hur nazism, fascism och rasism öppet normaliseras och breder ut sig. Just idag på morgonen gick tiden ut för 1,5 gradersmålet enligt MCC Berlins carbon countdown clock. Tvågradersmålet är fortfarande fullt möjligt. Ledande forskare ger oss 5% chans att vi klarar det. Men dom 5 procenten är ett aktivt val och det valet är vårt. Ska vi klara tvågradersmålet så måste det till enorma förändringar. Allt måste ändras och det kommer oundvikligen att påverka alla delar av vår vardag. Det kommer krävas helt nya politiska samarbeten och lösningar. Och ett helt nytt ekonomiskt tänkande. Det kommer krävas en enorm folkrörelse som driver allting framåt varje minut, varje timme och varje dag. Den politiken som krävs finns inte att rösta på i dagens riksdagsval. Vi har helt enkelt inte inte hunnit fram dit än. Däremot så tror jag att det finns partier som är beredda att ta fram, utveckla och driva den politiken så att vi kan visa internationellt hur en omställning kan börja. Ni vet vilka dom är. Rösta på dom som om det gällde livet. För det gör det. Den nära nog obefintliga krismedvetenhet som råder idag är vårt största hot och utmaning. Det vi kan förändra här och nu är oss själva. Börja där. Där finns hoppet.

A post shared by Malena Ernman (@malena_ernman) on

Greta is the older sister of her only sibling, Beata. Both Greta and her sister have been diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Beata also has OCD and has been open about her experience dealing with her conditions, as well as bullying.

Following in Malena’s footsteps, Beata is also a famous singer in Sweden; her father, Svante, serves as her manager. Beata appeared on the Swedish TV show Malou and performed an original song, entitled “Bara Du Vill.”


5. She Competed in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009

Malena Ernman – La Voix (Sweden) LIVE 2009 Eurovision Song ContestMalena Ernman represented Sweden at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow with the song La Voix2016-08-18T11:31:06.000Z

10 years ago, Malena competed in Europe’s popular “Eurovision Song Contest.” According to OperaAndBallet.com, she first competed in the Swedish Melodifestivalen Eurovision Grand Prix with a written by her friend Fredrik Kempe, entitled “La Voix.” Winning the competition meant she got to represent her country of Sweden in the Eurovision competition in Moscow. Ultimately, she finished 9th overall in the semifinals, and 21st in the final.

On the singing competition’s website, how a person earns their spot in the competition is explained: “Each participating broadcaster that represents their country chooses their performer (maximum six people) and song (maximum three minutes, not released before) through a national televised selection, or through an internal selection. Each country is free to decide if they send their number-one star or the best new talent they could find.”


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