Time Magazine Names Greta Thunberg “Person of the Year”

Time Magazine Names Greta Thunberg

By Lauren Reiser, Junior Editor

After an inspiring year of environmental activism in the goal of taking action against the “climate crisis,” Greta Thunberg has been named Time Magazine’s Person of The Year.

At just 16 years old, Thunberg has become one of the world’s most noteworthy emvironmental activists, sparking a global movement in support of the fight against global warming and climate change. The teen first became recognized for her activism back in 2018 when she would protest alone outside the Swedish Parliament to call for stronger action on climate change during schools hours on Fridays. Thunberg held up a now internationally recognized sign that read “skolstrejk för klimatet,” which translates to “School strike for the climate.”

While most 16-year-olds are worrying about their next test or planning their weekend, Thunberg is becoming a symbol for young people across the world protesting the lack of action against climate change.

Thunberg’s straightforward and blunt speaking manner has established her as a force that can not be ignored. Earlier this year, Thunberg spoke before the United Nations Climate Action Summit and the U.S. Congress urging world leaders and U.S. Congress members to take real action on climate change. In August, Thunberg also sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to attend various climate conferences.

This is the first time the magazine has honored a teenager, making Thunberg the youngest ever to receieve the award. Time stated that it named Thunberg 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 background and borders” and “for showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads.”

The magazine announced its choice for this annual honor exclusively on the “TODAY” show.

“She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement,” Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal told the show.

When Thunberg first learned about climate change at 8 years old, she said that she immediately became concerned to the point that she went into a depression over it.

“I remember thinking that it was very strange that humans that are an animal species, among others, could be capable of changing the Earth’s climate,” the teen said during a 2018 Ted Talk.

She gave up a number of things, including eating meat and traveling by airplane, to reduce her carbon footprint.

In October,  Thunberg was chosen for another honor – an environmental award at a Stockholm ceremony held by the Nordic Council; however, she declined it, explaining on her Instagram that,     “[t]he climate movement does not need any more awards.”

“What we need is for our politicians and the people in power start to listen to the current, best available science,” the teenager wrote.

We interviewed some Wayne Hills students for their thoughts on Time’s choice for its Person of the Year award.

It’s definitely inspiring to see someone young and someone of my age to be recognized nationally for their achievements,” says Sophomore Juliana Lee. “The youth are often times overlooked for their potential, but thunberg breaks that misconception and she’s doing it with such passion and humility. I applaud her for her courage and I’m looking forward to see more of her in the years to come.”

“It’s amazing that someone so young can be so inspirational and effective,” added Junior Gabrielle Goldman. “She is the same age as me but has traveled the world to stress that climate change is a serious and dangerous issue. Although she is taking a well-deserved break, I hope she will continue to bring people together in light of global change.”

As the current decade comes to a close and a new one begins, Thunberg will continue to advocate for climate change and bring attention to this important and prevalent issue.