Climate activist Greta Thunberg on Sunday defended a photo she tweeted of herself posing on the floor of what she said was an “overcrowded” train.
“Traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany,” Thunberg tweeted Saturday, along with the image, which shows her surrounded by luggage and gazing pensively out a window. “And I’m finally on my way home!”
Traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany. And I’m finally on my way home! pic.twitter.com/ssfLCPsR8o
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 14, 2019
Thunberg, 16, was traveling to Stockholm following appearances at the COP25 climate conference in Madrid on Dec. 6 and at a climate protest in Turin, Italy, on Friday. She has spent the past year traveling the world in eco-friendly style to warn of what she sees as the existential dangers of climate change.
In the process, Thunberg has become an international celebrity, and as of Wednesday, “Time Person of the Year.”
The Germany railway company at first deferred to its activist passenger. According to The Guardian, Deutsche Bahn apologized on Twitter for any inconvenience and said it was working to improve conditions on its trains.
However, on Sunday, the press department deleted its initial tweet and fired off a pair of scathing ones, suggesting Thunberg was ungrateful and calling her out for failing to mention that she was seated in first class.
“Dear Greta,” Deutsche Bahn said. “Thank you for supporting us railroaders in the fight against climate change! We were happy that you travelled with us on Saturday in the ICE 74 … but it would have been even nicer, had you also reported how friendly and competently you were looked after by our team at your seat in the first class.”
Not everyone’s on board the Greta Thunberg train
“OMG even German Rail companies are now dunking on the fraud that is @GretaThunberg!,” tweeted Raheem Kassam, cohost of Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast.
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) December 15, 2019
As the mockery continued, Thunberg on Sunday sought to explain away the controversy.
“Our train from Basel was taken out of traffic. So we sat on the floor on 2 different trains,” she tweeted. “After Göttingen I got a seat. This is no problem of course and I never said it was. Overcrowded trains is a great sign because it means the demand for train travel is high!”
It was the second clarification Thunberg had to issue on Twitter in as many days.
On Saturday, she apologized for saying during a speech in Turin that world leaders should be “put against the wall.” In English the phrase is associated with execution by firing squad, but Thunberg said it had a different meaning in her native Swedish.
“That’s what happens when you improvise speeches in a second language,” she said.
After her address to protesters, Thunberg told reporters was taking a break from activism.
“I will be home for Christmas and then I will take a holiday break because you need to take rest,” she said, according to Reuters.
“Otherwise you cannot do this all the time.”
- Greta Thunberg.: Screen grab