Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2019. 16-year-old Thunberg is a schoolgirl who has inspired a global movement to fight climate change. Thunberg is the youngest person named as Time's Person of the Year sinced the magazine started the tradition in 1927. Thunberg was also named one of the world's most influential people by Time magazine in May.
"For sounding the alarm about humanity's predatory relationship with the only home we have, for bringing to a fragmented world a voice that transcends backgrounds and borders, for showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads, Greta Thunberg is TIME's 2019 Person of the Year," the US publication said.
Thunberg became famous after she started an environmental protest outside the Swedish parliament building which inspired a worldwide movement. Since then, she has become a strong voice against climate change and an internationally recognised figure and, earlier this year, was nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The teen, whose climate activism went viral in 2018, delivered a scathing address to the UN General Assembly at the Climate Action Summit in New York City in September. She had travelled for nearly 14 days across the Atlantic Ocean in a zero-emissions racing yacht to attend the conference.
TIME named the US Women's Soccer Team as the 'Athlete of the Year,' the US Public Servants as 'Guardians of the Year', singer Lizzo as 'Entertainer of the Year' and Disney CEO Bob Iger as 'Business Person of the Year.'
TIME said that in the course of little more than a year, Thunberg from Stockholm went from a solitary protest for climate action on the cobblestones outside her country's Parliament to leading a worldwide youth movement; from a schoolkid conjugating verbs in French class to meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and receiving audiences with Presidents and the Pope; from a solo demonstrator with a hand-painted slogan (Skolstrejk for Klimatet) to inspiring millions of people across more than 150 countries to take to the streets on behalf of the planet we share.
Thunberg had courageously looked the world leaders in the eyes and yelled "How dare you" as she sat next to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during the Climate Summit at the world organisation in September this year, scolding them for their inaction and empty words on climate change.
"You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?" she said.
"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet, I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing."
TIME said meaningful change rarely happens without the galvanizing force of influential individuals, and in 2019, the earth's existential crisis found one in Thunberg.