Greta Thunberg Is TIME Magazine's 2019 Person Of The Year

by Valerie Williams
Time Inc.

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg caps her huge year by covering TIME Magazine

To say that Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had a breakout year is an understatement. The 16-year-old has been all over the world speaking truth to power on a subject that many of those figures refuse to acknowledge, let alone do anything about. Now, she’s the youngest person ever to receive the title of TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year.

“This was the year the climate crisis went from behind the curtain to center stage, from ambient political noise to squarely on the world’s agenda, and no one did more to make that happen than @gretathunberg,” the publication writes of their choice to feature Thunberg in the yearly spot.

They continue, “Meaningful change rarely happens without the galvanizing force of influential individuals, writes editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal, and in 2019, the earth’s existential crisis found one in Thunberg. For that reason, she is TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year.”

“I see myself as one out of millions in this movement,” she says in a video TIME shared on their Instagram account. They write of her beginnings — sitting alone in her blue hoodie for hours every day outside the Swedish parliament in an act of protest. The 15-year-old held her hand-painted banner and demanded that her country reduce carbon emissions according to the Paris Agreement. She spent three weeks all alone protesting during school hours and now, the whole world knows her name.

In explaining why Thunberg earned the spot, TIME writes, “Just over a year ago, a quiet and mostly friendless teenager woke up, put on her blue hoodie, and sat by herself for hours in an act of singular defiance. Fourteen months later, she had become the voice of millions, a symbol of a rising global rebellion. The politics of climate action are as entrenched and complex as the phenomenon itself, and @gretathunberg has no magic solution. But she has succeeded in creating a global attitudinal shift, transforming millions of vague, middle-of-the-night anxieties into a worldwide movement calling for urgent change.”

While there are plenty of folks who believe Thunberg is wholeheartedly deserving of the title…

…others are a tad bit triggered.

[tweet1204745941141508096 hide_thread=’true’]

Honestly, what is it about an unapologetic teenage girl speaking the truth that ruffles the feathers of some terrible adults? Including the actual president, of course.

Arguably, the high point of Thunberg’s year was her address at the Climate Action Summit in September where her passionate plea for real action to halt climate change got plenty of people to sit up and pay attention. “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” she began before quickly turning emotional. “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? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words and yet, I am one of the lucky ones. People are suffering.”

If a bunch of awful (and willfully ignorant) adults would just shut up and listen, Thunberg and her fellow young people could help open more eyes to the true crisis our planet is in and the worse one it’s heading towards if meaningful action isn’t taken. Her TIME cover is just one more way to help spread her urgent message.