Why was Greta Thunberg selected as Time’s Person of the Year?

On Wednesday, December 12, the climate activist Greta Thunberg was selected as Time's Person of the Year. What does that mean exactly? 

The environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

FILED – The environmental activist Greta Thunberg participates together with students in the climate demonstration “Fridays for Future”. / Photo: Michael Kappeler / dpa

The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué Greta Thunberg es la Persona del Año de TIME?

Time magazine has an annual issue called the “Person of the Year”, in which a person, group, idea or an object is selected because "for better or for worse has done the most to influence the events of the year".

This week, on Wednesday, the 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg was recognized as the Person of the Year for her enormous work in raising awareness about the climate crisis. 

“Meaningful change rarely happens without the galvanizing force of influential individuals, and in 2019, the earth’s existential crisis found one in Greta Thunberg”, states Time magazine.

“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”, it concludes. 

As read on Biography, Greta was only eight when she started to learn about the climate crisis. Since then, in order to lower her carbon footprint, she became vegan, stopped flying and helped her family do the same. 

Also read: What is the Human Rights Day?

In 2018, the Swedish young girl started skipping school on Fridays to protest outside the Swedish Parliament with the message "School strike for climate". 

Due to social media, her actions spread worldwide and millions of young people organized and started to protest regularly after the launch of “Fridays for Future”, trying to put pressure on leaders and lawmakers to act on climate change. 

This year, on September 20, Greta led what is known as the largest climate protest in history, with almost 4 million people marching all over the world. The next day, she addressed the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. 

Her speech then became viral: “This is all wrong. I shouldn't be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words", she said. 

Thunberg was also nominated for 2019's Nobel Peace Prize, which was given to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. 

This year, as read on The Washington Post, the other finalists were the Hong Kong protesters, who have been striking for months demanding a democratic reform, and the three people involved in the impeachment proceedings against President Trump: Nancy Pelosi and the anonymous informant whose complaint helped set the inquiry. 

"Wow, this is unbelievable! I share this great honor with everyone in the #FridaysForFuture movement and climate activists everywhere”, said Thunberg on twitter, reacting to the nomination. 

Anand Giridharadas, the Time Magazine editor at large, tweeted that Greta "is telling us that real change is costly, real change requires giving things up, the loss of power and privilege, new systems, new ways of life".

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