Greta Thunberg is not your typical teenager, and that’s why the climate activist is Time’s 2019 Person of the Year.
The Swedish 16-year-old has inspired four million people in a global movement to stop climate change, starting with a sign that read (translated into English) “School Strike for Climate.” Thanks to Thunberg’s efforts, the idea of kids doing good has taken on a whole new meaning.
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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. 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. Read more about the #TIMEPOY choice at the link in bio. Photograph by @evgenia_arbugaeva for TIME; Video by @maxim_arbugaev for TIME
In 2018 Thunberg skipped school to protest in front of Swedish Parliament. Fast-forward 16 months and the teen has caught the attention of the world. With no political agency or organization backing her, Thunberg started her strike alone. The next day a second person stood with her. As the weeks went by more and more people stood by Thunberg, eventually resulting in the Fridays for the Future movement.
By 2019 the strikes had grown to unimaginable proportions. More than one million people joined the cause across Germany, striking in Berlin and 600 other cities. In September of 2019, the Fridays for the Future strikes moved from Europe to the United States. A reported 250,000 people marched in New York City’s Battery Park.
Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal told TODAY during the 2019 announcement, “She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement.” Felsenthal continued, “Young people are demanding change, and urgently. She embodies youth activism.”
Featured photo: Greta Thunberg via Instagram