Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Environment

Climate activist Greta Thunberg becomes youngest-ever Time Person of the Year

She rose to fame after cutting class in August 2018 to protest climate change.
This photo provided by Time magazine shows Greta Thunberg, who has been named Time’s youngest “person of the year” on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.   The media franchise said Wednesday on its website that Thunberg is being honored for work that transcends backgrounds and borders.  (Time via AP) [AP]
This photo provided by Time magazine shows Greta Thunberg, who has been named Time’s youngest “person of the year” on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. The media franchise said Wednesday on its website that Thunberg is being honored for work that transcends backgrounds and borders. (Time via AP) [AP]
Published Dec. 11, 2019

NEW YORK — She inspired a movement — and now she’s the youngest ever Time Person of the Year.

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old activist who emerged as the face of the fight against climate change and motivated people around the world to join the crusade, was announced Wednesday as the recipient of the magazine’s annual honor.

She rose to fame after cutting class in August 2018 to protest climate change — and the lack of action by world leaders to combat it — all by herself, but millions across the globe have joined her mission in the months since.

“We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow,” Thunberg told Time in the issue’s cover story. “That is all we are saying.”

The Person of the Year issue dates back to 1927 and recognizes the person or people who have the greatest influence on the world, good or bad, in a given year.

Since her protest, Thunberg has spoken at climate conferences across the planet, called out world leaders and refused to waiver in her quest to make an impact on the future.

Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal acknowledged Thunberg as “the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet” in an article explaining the 2019 selection.

“Thunberg stands on the shoulders — and at the side — of hundreds of thousands of others who’ve been blockading the streets and settling the science, many of them since before she was born,” he wrote. “She is also the first to note that her privileged background makes her ‘one of the lucky ones,’ as she puts it, in a crisis that disproportionately affects poor and indigenous communities. But 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 Thunberg.”

In the cover story, Thunberg and her father reflect on her becoming depressed at 11 years old when a teacher introduced her class to the dire effects of climate change. The teenager’s diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, the magazine says, helped offer an explanation for why it affected her in that way.

“I see the world in black and white, and I don’t like compromising,” Thunberg told Time. “If I were like everyone else, I would have continued on and not seen this crisis.”

This year’s Person of the Year runners-up were President Donald Trump, the whistleblower in the Trump scandal, Nancy Pelosi and the Hong Kong protestors.

In new categories, pop star Lizzo was named Entertainer of the Year by Time, the United States Women’s Soccer Team was selected as Athlete of the Year, and Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, was named Business Person of the Year.

Meanwhile, Fiona Hill, Ambassador William Taylor, Mark Sandy, Lieut. Colonel Alexander Vindman, Marie Yovanovitch and the whistleblower were recognized as “Guardians” for their public service.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Kathryn Sharkey, 9, of Masarkytown, proves to have a swift hand in casting at the Family Fishing Festival held Jan, 18 at Withlacoochee River  Park in Dade City. Looking on, is her dad, Devon Sharkey (right). [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
    The family friendly event offered an outdoor alternative for those looking to unplug
  2. Smoke from the Levy County controlled burn travelled across three counties in order to reach Hillsborough. [VisitTampaBay.com]
    Commuters saw the smokey, hazy skies as they drove home. Strong southern winds are carrying the smoke from a prescribed fire in Levy County.
  3. Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg listens as U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday. The 50th annual meeting of the forum will take place in Davos from Jan. 21 until Jan. 24. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) [MARKUS SCHREIBER  |  AP]
    “The facts are clear," the 17-year-old Swedish activist said after the president’s speech, “but they are still too uncomfortable for you to address.”
  4. Researchers aboard the R/V Bellows work to bring a blacktip shark aboard during a research cruise on Monday, April 17, 2017, off the coast of Florida.  The blacktip shark are responsible for most unprovoked shark attacks in Florida waters.
    The drop may be a result of climate change, but it’s hard to say for sure.
  5. Sea rise is pushing inland and amplifying the threats from hurricanes, wiping out one of the rarest forests on the planet in the Florida Keys. [MATIAS J. OCNER  |  mocner@miamiherald.com]
    A recent study has found that the Gulf Coast has lost 57 square miles of forest over just more than a century.
  6. Flooding from an October king tide in Miami Shores fills streets, sidewalks and driveways at its peak. [Miami Herald]
    And it could lose up to 35 percent of its value by 2050, according to a new report.
  7. Two babirusa pigs are shown at Lowry Park Zoo in this photo from 1995. A Tampa Bay couple is accused of distributing remnants from exotic animal species, including a babirusa skill. [Tampa Bay Times]
    Novita Indah and Larry Malugin sold more than 3,000 items made from the animals over a period of more than five years, federal officials said.
  8. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,, center, speaks as fellow candidates businessman Tom Steyer, from left, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. listen, Tuesday during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
    The candidates’ proposals reveal differences in how they plan to approach the issue.
  9. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dumps new sand from Central Florida along the Miami Beach shoreline near 65th Collins Avenue on Monday. [MATIAS J. OCNER  |  Miami Herald]
    The idea is to build a buffer between the condos and the rising seas.
  10. Draped against the St. Petersburg skyline on Tuesday evening on January 14, 2020, the Bella Vita is visible as it docks in Port St. Pete. The yacht is nearly 250 feet long and costs about $650,000 to charter for a week in the winter, according to broker Moran Yacht and Ship. It can accommodate 12 passengers between its six staterooms and six decks, and a staff of 22. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times]
    Meet the Bella Vita, a yacht almost too luxurious to believe.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement