Greta Thunberg Vogue Scandinavia Cover
Source: Getty Images

Greta Thunberg Talks Power of Individual Action for 'Vogue' Scandinavia's Inaugural Cover

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Aug. 9 2021, Published 4:00 p.m. ET

You don’t typically expect a fashion magazine’s cover star to make negative comments about the fashion industry — but Greta Thunberg isn’t afraid of anything. The 18-year-old climate activist just graced the cover of the very first issue of Vogue Scandinavia, which “aims to be the most sustainable publication in the world.”

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For the new magazine’s inaugural cover story, Thunberg shared her views on fast fashion, climate activism, her perspective on how individual action can help create change, and plenty more gems. Keep reading for some of the highlights from Thunberg’s interview, and to learn more about how Vogue Scandinavia plans to achieve its goal – starting with amplifying climate activists' voices.

Greta Thunberg Vogue Scandinavia
Source: Alexandrov Klum
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Greta Thunberg is 'Vogue' Scandinavia’s first cover model — which is fitting, considering her Swedish nationality.

For Greta Thunberg’s Vogue Scandinavia cover story, the Swedish activist posed wearing garments made from natural fibers, deadstock from previous collections, and upcycled materials (including a trench coat made from discarded trench coats). Set in a Scandinavian forest, Thunberg’s cover shoot co-starred newly-appointed Vogue Scandinavia editor-in-chief Martina Bonnier and an Icelandic horse named Strengur.

While magazines such as Vogue typically highlight luxury fashion rather than fast fashion, Thunberg made sure to state her stance on the wasteful and often unethical fast fashion industry in the interview. “If you are buying fast fashion then you are contributing to that industry and encouraging them to expand and encouraging them to continue their harmful process,” she told the magazine.

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“Of course I understand that for some people fashion is a big part of how they want to express themselves and their identity,” she added; fortunately, it’s possible for one's wardrobe to be both stylish and fairly sustainable, thanks to thrifting and sustainable fashion designers.

In addition to advocating against fast fashion, Thunberg told Vogue that she has not bought anything in three years, in what she calls a shop stop; her fans also know that she is vegan, and she doesn’t fly in planes. Even though large-scale action from major governments will ultimately be key in fending off irreversible climate catastrophe, Thunberg explained to Vogue why these individual choices hold more power than they may seem.

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Greta Thunberg Vogue Scandinavia
Source: Alexandrov Klum

“You don’t stop flying, you don’t stop consuming or you don’t go vegan because you want to lower your own individual carbon footprint. Of course that might be the case sometimes but at least not for me and for most people I know. We do it because we want to influence the people around us, we want to send a clear signal that we are facing an emergency and when you are in an emergency you change your behavior,” Thunberg told the magazine.

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“Because when one person starts doing something that has a snowball effect and spreads to people around them and they start thinking why is that person doing that, and it can plant a seed in that person’s mind, and it can grow over time, and that is something I think we underestimate,” she added.

This echoes a sentiment Thunberg shared with The New York Times last year — that living a sustainable, low-impact lifestyle is “all about sending a signal that we are in a crisis and that in a crisis you change behavior.”

Thunberg also told Vogue about the importance of focusing on the “crisis” part of the climate crisis. “As we climate activists have been saying from day one, we can not solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis,” she said. “If the pandemic has shown us one thing it is that the climate crisis has never once been treated as a crisis.”

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Greta Thunberg plans to continue her activism.

Having turned 18 this year, Thunberg has given some thought to how she’ll be helping fight the climate crisis as an adult as opposed to as a high school student. After considering careers as a scientist and a politician, she realized that we already have the science we need to know how to fight the climate crisis. “So what is needed now is to raise awareness in order to start this sustainable transition and that is maybe where I am most useful now,” she told Vogue.

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So if you’re a fan of Thunberg’s style of activism, get hyped, because the teenager has no plans to slow down anytime soon. (And you should join her.)

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'Vogue' Scandinavia hopes to be the world’s most sustainable magazine.

Vogue Scandinavia debuted on Aug. 8, 2021, and it will represent five countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. As mentioned earlier, Vogue Scandinavia wants to be the most sustainable publication on the planet. “Our goal is to give back more than we consume, to become carbon negative throughout our whole value chain,” Mariann Jacobsson, Vogue Scandinavia’s head of sustainability, said in a statement sent to Green Matters.

The magazine already has a few efforts in place to help achieve that title. For instance, all Vogue Scandinavia packaging is plastic-free and made from sustainable wood fibers; the company is planting two trees for every tree cut down to print the magazine; it is certified carbon neutral, and so far, has offset 450 tonnes of CO2 emissions; and, most importantly, the Vogue Scandinavia editorial staff plans to “continue to lend their platform to activists like Greta, and share their mission with the wider world,” according to press materials sent to Green Matters. We can't wait to see which activists Vogue Scandinavia chooses for future issues.

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