Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg refuses to travel by plane. Media coverage would have us believe it’s a movement that has spread across Sweden — but is it all just hype? .
It’s a hot, sunny day in a park in the western Swedish city of Gothenburg and people sit in small groups dotted along the green grass. Standing on a nearby path, a woman with long, strawberry blonde hair approaches people walking past.
“Would you be willing to give up flying for a year?” she asks one man.
“No, but I fly for work,” he replies.
She asks: “And there’s no way to avoid it?”
“No, I think driving to Taiwan would be a bit difficult,” he says.
After another couple of minutes of talking the man walks off. Despite the rebuff, Maja Rosén smiles. She’s spoken to a number of people today and most, she says, have had a different reaction.
“Out of all those people I’ve spoken to so far, more people are actually willing to do this than to say they don’t. That’s a big change to last year,” she said.
Last year, Rosén and her neighbor Lotta Hammar started a campaign to try to convince people in Sweden to give up flying for one year if 100,000 others also pledged to ditch flights.
They were only able to gather around 14,500 signatures, so they’re trying again this year. So far, they have almost 5,000 pledges. Still some way off, but Rosén isn’t concerned.