SHE is the environmental activist known for taking world leaders to task on climate change, but a statue of Greta Thunberg at a British university is now the focus of fury.


Where is the statue?

On the campus of the University of Winchester where education bosses spent £24,000 on the to-scale bronze depiction of Thunberg that has drawn protests in recent days.


How so?

Environmentally focused students have accused the university of “greenwashing” after they asked for beef to be removed from the canteen menu, requested more vegan options and also asked that buildings be made more energy efficient, rather than officials “wasting money on meaningless statues”. They claimed these requests were ignored.



They staged a demonstration on campus saying the statue - which was unveiled in 2021 - was a symbol of climate hypocrisy. A third year student told The Times: “I came here understanding that [the university] believed in certain values, which I now know are moot. Take beef off the menu and replace it with chicken and fish if need be. Make your plant-based meals affordable. Focus on making university buildings energy efficient and sustainable rather than wasting money on meaningless statues, the meaning of which have been completely wasted on the university’s upper echelons.”


The statue was already controversial?

When first unveiled, the student union branded it a “vanity project” and questioned “the expenditure and transparency of decision making by the university”. One local said: “I think the sculpture itself is very good but Greta has no connection with Winchester, or am I wrong?”


What does the university say?

A spokesman said that for “many years”, the “University of Winchester has led the way on issues of sustainability and social justice in the higher eduction sector and we look forward to continuing to do so. These values are embedded in everything we do to provide and excellent educational experience for our students.”



The activist rose to global prominence in 2018 when she began her school strike movement, encouraging pupils to skip Friday classes to instead protest and demand climate action from governments. She had been so passionate about the environment from early childhood that at one point, her opera singer mother - who had flown around the world for her work - gave up flying and as a result, her career, to reduce the family's carbon footprint.


Thunberg has been making headlines of late?

Since she first became a household name as a teenager, she has rarely been out of the news, but as December drew to a close, a Twitter "feud" she had online with controversial social media personality Andrew Tate made global headlines. When Tate told her in a tweet that he had "33 cars" and asked for her email to "send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions", Thunberg replied: "Yes, please do enlighten me. Email me at smalld**”.


And then?

In the video he made in response, Jerry's Pizza boxes were spotted and many believe that helped police find Tate, who was then detained in Romania as part of a human trafficking and rape investigation. Thunberg tweeted: “This is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes."