Energy & Environment

Greta Thunberg awarded Time’s ‘Person of the Year’

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg was named Time magazine’s 2019 “Person of the Year” early Wednesday.

The 16-year-old activist, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year, was awarded the honor over a shortlist of five other candidates, which included President Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The announcement was made on NBC’s “Today,” which featured an image of the upcoming Time cover featuring Thunberg. 

Time’s editor-in-chief, Edward Felsenthal, made the announcement, describing Thunberg as the “biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet.”

“She also represents a broader generational shift in the culture that we’re seeing from the campuses of Hong Kong to the protests in Chile to Parkland, Fla., where the students marched against gun violence where young people are demanding change urgently,” he said.

Thunberg has become a key figure in the global fight against climate change since leading school strikes in her home country of Sweden. 

Thunberg, who is the youngest person ever to receive the honor from Time, has used her youth to her advantage, connecting with others in her generation to form a grassroots climate movement and spark global demonstrations, with other young activists refusing to attend classes as a way to protest against inaction on the issue.

She has made appearances at global events to discuss the effects of climate change and raise awareness on the issue, recently speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. At the U.N. Climate Action Summit, she gave an impassioned speech calling on world leaders to do more on the issue.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” she said during her speech. “I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!”

She told Time that she wants to be able to tell future generations she did as much to fight climate change as possible.

“I’d like to tell my grandchildren that we did everything we could,” she told the magazine. “And we did it for them and for the generations to come.”

The magazine also considered the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint about Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky helped spark the House’s impeachment inquiry.

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong were also considered for “Person of the Year.”

Time last year named a group of journalists who were imprisoned or killed in 2018 as its “Person of the Year,” while Trump was named the runner-up and former special counsel Robert Mueller was the third choice.

Trump earned the “Person of the Year” label in 2016.

Updated at 8:15 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump Greta Thunberg Nancy Pelosi Robert Mueller TIME
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