Greta Thunberg named 'Time' 2019 person of the year

Pablo Tucker
December 11, 2019

Teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was named Time's youngest "person of the year" on 11 December.

In the 16 months that followed, Thunberg has inspired young people around the world to join climate protests and on September 20, 2019, 4 million people joined the global climate strike.

This August, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from England to NY on a zero-carbon yacht to make a statement about reducing emissions.

"I shouldn't be up here. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words". "Yet, I'm one of the lucky ones".

Among those who criticised the move was Donald Trump Junior, who tweeted: "Time leaves out the Hong Kong protesters fighting for their lives and freedoms to push a teen being used as a marketing gimmick".

Trump has questioned climate science and has challenged every major USA regulation aimed at combating climate change.

She finished her speech on a more hopeful note, telling delegates: "In just three weeks we will enter a new decade, a decade that will define our future".

Thunberg began her campaign with school strikes, which grew into larger protests, which eventually brought her to testify before Congress and other national governments. She eventually spent 36 days travelling by catamaran, electric vehicle and train to attend the event.

Johan Rockstrom, director of the Postdam Institute of Climate Studies, and one of the most revered scientists on the issue, said for 20 years "we have underestimated the pace of change and we have underestimated the risks we are facing".

She has spent the past year sailing across the world - she doesn't fly, for environmental reasons - to urge legislatures and corporations to act to save the planet.

Thunberg and others have been demanding that countries scale up their current efforts on climate action in view of mounting evidence that the world was not doing enough to prevent the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The nomination came after the number of students taking part in the school strikes broke two million across 135 countries.

"Zero in 2050 means nothing if high emission continues even for a few years", said Thunberg, who has become a symbol of youth anger against older generations and the political classes for foot-dragging over the environmental crisis.

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