Why is Greta Thunberg TIME'S Person of the Year?
December 11, 2019 10:26PM
TIME’s former managing editor, Walter Isaacson, laid out the criteria for Person of the Year in 1998. The title goes to “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse.” While the results of online polls are considered, the magazine’s editorial staff makes the final selection.
Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old climate change activist from Stockholm, Sweden. In August 2018, she skipped school and camped out in front of Swedish Parliament to bring awareness to climate change. “In the 16 months since,” TIME wrote, “she has addressed heads of state at the U.N., met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history.”
Through her activism, Thunberg has legitimately influenced policy. Following her words to British Parliament and demonstrations with environmental group Extinction Rebellion, the U.K. passed a law requiring it to eliminate its carbon footprint.
“She is an ordinary teenage girl who, in summoning the courage to speak truth to power, became the icon of a generation,” TIME wrote.