STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg said Friday she will no longer be able to skip classes as a way to draw attention to climate change because she is graduating from high school.
Thunberg, 20, started staging Friday protests outside the Swedish parliament building during school hours in 2018. Teenagers from around the world followed her lead, leading to an international student movement called Fridays for Future.
Because she won’t be a student anymore, Thunberg noted that her future Friday activities that “technically” won’t be school striking. But in a tweet, she vowed to continue protesting, saying, “The fight has only just begun.”
“We are still moving in the wrong direction, where those in power are allowed to sacrifice,” Thunberg wrote on Twitter. “We’re rapidly approaching potential nonlinear ecological and climatic tipping points beyond our control.”
As a teenager Thunberg was invited to speak to political and business leaders at U.N. conferences and the annual World Economic Forum in Davos. She also was named Time magazine’s youngest Person of the Year in 2019 and received several nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.
For her final school strike outside parliament, Thunberg posed with a Swedish-language sign while wearing the cap that high school graduates typically wear in Sweden.
American singer-songwriter and poet Patti Smith, who was in Stockholm for a concert Friday as part of a world tour, showed up at the demonstration and told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter she got tears in her eyes when meeting Thunberg.
“This is Greta Thunberg, faithfully taking her Friday School Strike for Climate Action. She graduates today, and we extend our gratitude and congratulations,” Smith wrote on Instagram.
Thunberg has urged the media to focus on other young activists. Fridays for Future participants planned to protest outside U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany, on Friday to urge governments to do more to curb global warming.