Greta Thunberg is Time Magazine's Person of the Year 2019

The climate change activist has sparked a global movement.
Donna Fuscaldo
The photo credit line may appear like thisTime Magazine 

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has become the ambassador for climate change thanks to her perseverance, was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2019. 

The 16-year-old climate change activist beat out Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Maryland to land on the cover of the coveted edition. 


Thunberg's style is what makes her so special 

"Thunberg is 16 but looks 12. She usually wears her light brown hair pulled into two braids, parted in the middle. She has Asperger’s syndrome, which means she doesn’t operate on the same emotional register as many of the people she meets. She dislikes crowds; ignores small talk; and speaks in direct, uncomplicated sentences," Time wrote in its tribute to Thunberg.  

"But these very qualities have helped make her a global sensation. Where others smile to cut the tension, Thunberg is withering. Where others speak the language of hope, Thunberg repeats the unassailable science: Oceans will rise. Cities will flood. Millions of people will suffer."

Time Person of the Year 2019 Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg named Time Person of the Year 2019. Source: Time magazine

Thunberg sparked a protest revolution 

Thunberg rise as one of the most powerful voices in the climate change movement happened seemingly overnight. Fed up with the solutions offered by adults to slow down the warming of the planet, Thunberg began protesting at age 15.

She spent the school hours on Friday's protesting alone outside the Swedish Parliament. Holding her now-famous sign that when translated reads "School strike for the climate," she sparked a movement that is now millions strong. 

On 15 March 2019, an estimated 1.4 million students spanning 112 countries joined her in walking out of their classrooms for the day. The students called for stronger action and policies to address climate change. 

Not afraid to call it like she sees it, Thunberg made headlines in January when she scolded delegates at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland for using private plans to attend the meeting. 

"Some people, some companies, some decision-makers, in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I think many of you here today belong to that group of people," she said. "I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire – because it is."

Time magazine has been naming a person of the year since 1927. "The Guardians and the War on Truth" which was comprised of four journalists and a news organization who ended up in jail because of their reporting, made the cover in 2018. 


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