Who Is Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year Greta Thunberg?



Norine Moore, staff writer

Many people have heard the name Greta Thunberg in recent news but not many people know much about her. Thunberg is a 16 year old climate activist from Stockholm, Sweden. Over the course of a few years, she has done remarkable things that have lead her to become a household name. But, it is her young age that makes these accomplishments seem even wilder since many students at NPHS are around her age. Here is a look at some things that Thunberg has accomplished.

Thunberg first became known to the world in August of 2018 when she began spending her school days outside of the Swedish parliament building petitioning for stricter laws that would address the climate crisis. Fellow students started joining Thunberg in her protests and they created a movement called Fridays For Future. Every week students across the globe held strikes and protests about the climate crisis, demanding a change. 

Throughout her life, Greta has faced many health problems such as Asperger’s syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism. Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder that impacts her ability to socialize and communicate with others. Due to being a selective mute, Thunberg only speaks in certain times when she chooses to. In her November of 2018 TEDx Talk she stated, “now is one of those moments,” referring to the ongoing climate issue. Thunberg does not let her challenges limit her from being a global icon and inspiring the youth to do great. 

Not only has Thunberg tried to change her ways, but she has even influenced her family members to do so as well. In hopes of helping the environment and decreasing their carbon footprint, the Thunbergs gave up flying in airplanes, stopped eating meat, and began upcycling. 

Thunberg’s activism became well noticed in May of 2019 when she was placed on the cover of Time magazine and labeled a Next Generation Leader. 

Then in August of 2019, Thunberg and a few others sailed across the ocean from the United Kingdom to the United States. The voyage took 15 days but for Thunberg it was a better alternative than raising the carbon emissions by taking a plane. Once in America, Thunberg attended the 2019 U.N. Climate Action Summit which is held in order to discuss the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Thunberg gave a powerful speech calling out government officials for not acknowledging the ongoing crisis. In the closing of her message, Thunberg mentioned others her age and said, “You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. […] And change is coming, whether you like it or not.” 

Thunberg’s activism has landed her tons of recognition. In 2019, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize award due to her outstanding work in getting awareness for the climate crisis. Although she did not win, she won the Right Livelihood Award for “inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts”. Thunberg was also praised by actor, Leonardo DiCaprio who called her a “leader of our time”. She has even declined many awards because she would have to use an airplane to receive them. However, Thunberg doesn’t feel that she needs all of these awards because, “the climate movement does not need any more prizes”.