Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg's Her father said he initially thought her activism was a "bad idea" but has come to embrace it. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Greta Thunberg's father said he originally thought his daughter's climate change activism was a "bad idea," but has come to embrace and support the 16-year-old's quest to raise awareness globally on environmental issues.
Svante Thunberg told BBC Radio 4 in an interview that he was not supportive of his daughter skipping school in a climate strike, where she won support from around the world.
He said Greta Thunberg suffered from depression before she began her one-woman protest, but now she has become happy.
"You think she's not ordinary now because she's special, and she's very famous, and all these things," Svante Thunberg said. "But to me, she's now an ordinary child -- she can do all the things like other people can. She dances around, she laughs a lot, we have a lot of fun -- and she's in a very good place."
He rejects critics who charged that he and his wife, opera singer Malena Ernman, forced Greta into the public climate change scene. Svante Thunberg said while he was a human rights activist, it was Greta who constantly challenged them on the environment.
"We are not climate activists, we never were," Svante Thunberg said. "We obviously did not have a clue [about] the climate crisis and she basically thought we were huge hypocrites. So Greta was like 'Whose human rights are you standing up for?'''
Greta Thunberg was honored earlier this month as Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2019, though she was mocked by President Donald Trump.
The magazine pointed to how her activism inspired young people around the world to address climate change while speaking at the United Nations and world climate change conference in Spain.