Greta Thunberg named 2019 Time Person of the Year

Saturday, December 14, 2019

On Wednesday, Time magazine announced its selection of climate change activist Greta Thunberg as their 2019 "Person of the Year". The sixteen-year-old Swede is currently the youngest recipient of the 92-year-old award. Thunberg received the award, with which Time credits an individual as having done "for better or for worse [...] the most to influence the events of the year", for her work drawing attention to the issue of climate change.

Thunberg in April 2019
Image: European Parliament.

Thunberg began her climate protest on August 20, 2018, at the age of fifteen, outside of the Swedish Parliament, instead of attending school. She protested alone on the first day, but thousands of Swedes eventually joined the protest. That September, the Fridays for Future movement launched; Thunberg promised protests every week until Sweden joined the Paris Agreement. Other countries had similar protests, with 35 thousand students protesting in Belgium in January of this year.

Thunberg then led, according to Time, the largest climate change demonstration ever held to date, on September 20 of this year. An estimated four million people overall took part in the protests. This included marches of 250 thousand protesters in New York City, 100 thousand in London, and 1.4 million in cities throughout Germany. Time reported some were using the slogan "Make the World Greta Again".

In her campaign, Thunberg has met with multiple world leaders advocating climate change action, including giving an address at the United Nations, meeting with Roman Catholic Pope Francis, and speaking to the United States Congress. Her influence also resulted in a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

According to NBC, Time also considered the United States Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, United States President Donald Trump, protesters in Hong Kong over Chinese extradition, and a United States whistleblower who revealed an alleged illicit interaction between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.