Time magazine has selected Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate crisis activist, as the person of the year. Every year, the magazine highlights the most influential person, group, movement or idea of the past 12 months. Last year, it was “The Guardians,” a group of journalists who have were jailed or lost their lives. In 2017, it was “The Silence Breakers,” the group of individuals who came forth to report sexual misconduct.
Time editor Ed Felsenthal revealed the Person of the Year on the “Today” show on Wednesday. The list this year also included Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, the Whistleblower whose complaint played a pivotal role in starting the impeachment proceedings, and the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Highlights from Thunberg’s life:
- Greta staged the first-ever climate school strike in August 2018, inspired by a school class walk-out in Florida in protest of US gun laws.
- She started the global movement, “Fridays for Future.”
- Greta has visited many countries in the world but she refuses to fly.
- She sailed in a zero-emission yacht for two weeks across the Atlantic to get to New York for the UN’s Climate Action Summit.
- Greta’s environmentalism spreads to all aspects of her life, including being a vegan.
- Greta was named as one of TIME Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2018.
- She also appeared on the cover of the August 2019 issue of British GQ.
Thunberg was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in March and has been the impetus to a global student-led strike involving more than a million students in the last two years after she started spending her school days opposing climate change outside the Swedish parliament.
She drew worldwide mention for her passionate speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September after she travelled from England to New York in a solar-powered boat for the conference instead of flying because it’s detrimental to the climate. Her speech went viral, drawing applause from environmental activists and a mocking response from President Donald Trump.
Other nominees for Person of the Year
Other nominees recognised for the distinction included Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe, President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
The Time editors also declared winners of four added sections instead of choosing runners-up for Person of the Year. The U.S. women’s soccer team, who gained the World Cup title in the summer, merited Athlete of the year honours. While Grammy-nominated singer Lizzo was selected as the Entertainer of the Year. Disney CEO Bob Iger was selected Businessperson of the Year after the strong launch of the streaming service Disney+ and an account of more than $10 billion in box office releases for Disney movies.
Time also marked “Public Servants” as the Guardians of the Year, which included the unidentified CIA whistleblower and “all of the public servants who took prominent professional risks in pursuance of truth.” That group also included Marie Yovanovitch, Bill Taylor, Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman, who are current or retired government officials who have performed an important part in the impeachment proceedings.
Saumya Rastogi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV