Teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has been named Time’s youngest “person of the year”.
The 16-year-old has become the face of the youth climate movement, drawing large crowds with her appearances at protests and conferences over the past year and a half.
Some have welcomed her activism, including her speeches challenging world leaders to do more to stop global warming, but others have criticised her sometimes combative tone.
“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 media franchise said.
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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. @gretathunberg is TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year. Read the cover story by @charlottealter, @suyinsays and @justinworland—and watch the full video—at the link in bio. #TIMEPOY Video by @robson.alexandra, @juliamarielull, @arpane and @maxim_arbugaev for TIME
Greta was in Madrid on Wednesday, where she addressed negotiators at the UN’s COP25 climate talks.
Last year’s Time winners included murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, where five people were shot dead; Philippine journalist Maria Ressa; and two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
TIME Editor-in-Chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal said:
“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.”