Youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg said it would be "a waste of time" to meet with President Donald Trump to try to change his opinion on global warming because she doesn't think there is anything she could say "that he hasn't already heard."
"I don't understand why I would do that," Thunberg, who was publicly mocked by Trump on Twitter, told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
In a preview clip of her interview set to air Friday on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the 16-year-old Swedish girl talked about the weight of leading the young climate change movement, calling it "a lot for a teenager," and opened up about how she sees her Asperger’s syndrome as a "gift."
U.S. & World
Stories that affect your life across the U.S. and around the world.
"In this society everyone is the same, everyone thinks the same, and I think it is a gift to be different, to have some kind of — if you are on the autism spectrum, that makes you different — and especially in a crisis like this, you need to think outside the box," Thunberg said. "We need people who think differently, that means people who are different could be a good resource for that."
Thunberg, who is in Los Angeles for a youth climate strike on Friday, also explained why she traveled to the U.S. in a zero-emissions sailboat before traversing North America by train until she reached California.
Thunberg notes that flights contribute to global warming, so she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on the Malizia II, a 60-foot yacht outfitted with solar panels and underwater turbines, to reach New York. There the Swede scolded a U.N. climate conference on Sept. 23, repeatedly asking, "How dare you?"
"For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear," she said, citing global-warming statistics. "How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight."
Clips of her speech went viral on social media, along with a GIF that showed her appearing to glare at Trump when he dropped in on the summit.
Trump responded to coverage of her address by sharing a video on Twitter with the caption: "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"
A day after Trump's tweet, Thunberg's Twitter account had a new bio. It read: "A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future."
DeGeneres asked Thunberg what sparked her "Fridays for Future" demonstrations, the weekly protests the teen began holding outside Sweden's parliament in 2018. Thunberg said after learning in school about the planet warming because of green house gases, she was surprised to learn that despite the overwhelming science indicating the cause, nothing was being done.
"No one took it seriously. I started reading about it, and the more I read about it, of course, the more I understood. And once I fully understood it, I couldn't just look away anymore," Thunberg said, adding that she knew she had to do whatever she could "so that I can look myself in the eye in this crisis."
For Thunberg that also means going vegan, buying only pre-owned or used things "unless you absolutely have to" and "putting pressure on people in power."
To help Thunberg spread her message, DeGeneres surprised her by revealing that she is dedicating a section on her show's Ellentube site to the teen's climate change movement. The page will provide resources on climate change and information on how to reduce your carbon footprint and join Thunberg's climate strikes. DeGeneres also announced that she's committing $100,000 into promoting the new page.
Thunberg is the scheduled keynote speaker at Friday's downtown rally organized by Youth Climate Strike Los Angeles as part of an effort to have the state put more restrictions on oil extraction, especially in densely populated urban neighborhoods like those dotting Los Angeles and surrounding cities.