Greta Thunberg stands in front of Dippy the Diplodocus

Greta Thunberg visited many of the Museum's exhibits, including Dippy the Diplodocus.  Image © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

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Greta Thunberg warns 'humanity's life support is being destroyed' on visit to the Museum

Greta Thunberg and the Museum have teamed up to help educate students on the importance of tackling both the climate and biodiversity crises.

A filmed discussion, alongside learning materials and teaching resources, will be premiered to schools later this year. 

Climate and environmental activist Greta Thunberg has called for everyone to play their part in combatting the climate crisis.

Speaking at the Museum ahead of the launch of her forthcoming book, The Climate Book, the campaigner reiterated the importance of science in tackling many of the greatest threats humanity faces today.

'Science is both a warning signal, but also one of the best solutions that we have, and we need to invest in it,' Greta says. 'When we are facing such an existential emergency like the climate crisis, it's very important that everyone steps up.

'I think it's very important that institutions like the Natural History Museum take their responsibility and communicate the crisis itself, the science behind it, and how it's connected to other issues.'

Greta has also collaborated with the Museum to highlight the perils of biodiversity loss in a recorded discussion which will be made available to all.

'Humans are a part of nature, and our life support systems are being destroyed as we speak,' Greta adds. 'Yet, we seem to have forgotten that.'

'We have distanced ourselves so far from nature that we forget that we are a part of it - that we are completely dependent on it.'

Greta Thunberg on the stairs of Hintze Hall, with Hope the whale in the background

Greta Thunberg began her school strike at the age of 15, and has since become a prominent climate activist. Image © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Who is Greta Thunberg?

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish climate activist who first came to prominence in 2018 after she began protesting outside the Swedish Parliament with a sign reading 'Skolstrejk för klimatet' (School strike for climate).

This inspired a wider movement known as Fridays for Future, which brings together youth climate activists from across the world.

Since 2018, Greta has addressed bodies including the United Nations, the World Economic Forum and the parliaments of a number of countries. She has criticised governments and industries around the world for acting too slowly on the climate crisis, and called on them to adopt much faster routes to net zero.

In recognition of her achievements, she has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on multiple occasions.

In addition to these awards, Greta has also had a number of species named after her such as the beetle Nelloptodes gretae. Named after her in 2019 by Museum scientist Michael Darby, Greta came face to face with her namesake during a 2021 visit to Our Broken Planet.

Dr Adriana De Palma and Greta Thunberg hold a copy of The Climate Book

Greta Thunberg took part in a discussion with Dr Adriana De Palma which will be made available to schools. Image © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

What did Greta Thunberg do at the Natural History Museum?

Greta visited the Museum to take part in a discussion with scientists and young people about the importance of tackling biodiversity loss alongside climate change and how the solutions are linked.

The talk will premiere to schools on the Museum's YouTube account in the Autumn, supported by learning materials and teaching resources to engage students with this vital subject.

Museum biodiversity researcher Dr Adriana De Palma took part in the discussion and is also one of the more than 100 experts who have contributed to The Climate Book, which will be published on 27 October.

'It is an honour to have contributed to Greta's book and take part in this event,' Adriana says. 'One of the great things about working at the Natural History Museum as a scientist is the opportunity to really engage with young people.'

'This is not just so we can speak about the scientific evidence but also so we can discuss our concerns about the planetary emergency, connect with each other through our love of nature and share ideas for inspiring change, both individually and as a community.'

Greta's visit also included an opportunity for her to get up close with a specimen of the Critically Endangered Philippine eagle. This bird of prey is one of the rarest in the world due to deforestation and hunting, illustrating the impacts of humanity on the natural world.

She also visited Dippy the Diplodocus in Dippy Returns, an exhibition which draws attention to the changing state of nature in the UK and the significant loss of biodiversity the country has experienced over the past two centuries.