‘Practically a Saint’: Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Enters School Course on Religion in Sweden
Greta Thunberg, 16, is revered as the icon of the climate movement by some and seen as a morbid cult figure by others. Fittingly, she has become part of a digital course about religion in her native Sweden.
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has earmarked a special place in a digital course for grades 7-9 in Swedish schools, the news outlet Samhällsnytt reported.
Remarkably, it is a course on religious knowledge and philosophy. The chapter she is featured in is called “Climate”, and, as the outlet put it, is “basically about Greta Thunberg”.
The course offers a sympathetic description of Thunberg, stressing her childhood in a family, where “creation has been at the centre”. The climate strike that Thunberg inspired and encourages schoolchildren to walk away from school to demand a more strenuous climate policy from their respective governments, is mentioned in a positive tone. Greta, it is claimed, is an “alarm clock” that “allows us to discuss, talk, and reflect on what is happening to our world”.
“Greta is practically painted as a saint”, a student told Samhällsnytt, suggesting that Thunberg’s depiction was deeply biased.
The students are trained, among other things, in disproving criticism against Greta and creating memes to mock her opponents. In one task, they are asked to find a picture to illustrate the sentence “One simply doesn’t mess with Greta”, a nod to an outdated Boromir meme from “Lord of the Rings”.
Publisher Liber, which is one of Sweden’s largest for textbooks and teaching materials, said that the initiative to offer cross-curricular teaching material is “especially appreciated by teachers”. “For us, it is important to constantly offer materials and teaching materials that reflect the contemporary”, the company told Samhällsnytt.
Greta’s rise to prominence has been rapid. In the course of a single year, she’s appeared on many magazine covers, toured the world with her climate message, had numerous murals devoted to herself, amassed a plethora of prizes, and just missed out on the Nobel Peace Prize.