Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who inspired a global movement to fight climate change, was named Person of the Year from Time magazine for 2019.
The 16-year-old is the youngest person chosen by the magazine in a tradition that began in 1927.
Speaking at a UN summit on climate change in Madrid before the announcement, he urged world leaders to stop using “creative public relations” to avoid real actions.
The next decade would define the future of the planet, he said.
Last year, the teenager began an environmental strike by missing lessons most Fridays to protest in front of the Swedish parliament building. A worldwide movement was unleashed that became popular with the hashtag #FridaysForFuture.
Since then, it has become a strong voice for action on climate change, inspiring millions of students to join protests around the world. Earlier this year, she was nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Who is Greta Thunberg?
The ‘fight to the death’ of the island nation
What is climate change?
Where we are in seven letters
At the UN Climate Conference in New York in September, he criticized politicians for trusting young people to get answers to climate change. In a now famous speech, she said: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. We will be watching you.”
In response to the nomination on Twitter, the activist said: “Wow, this is amazing! I share this great honor with everyone in the #FridaysForFuture movement and climate activists everywhere.”
However, the adolescent’s message has not been well received by everyone, especially the prominent conservative voices. Before her appearance in Madrid, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, called her “brat” after she expressed concern about the murder of Brazilian natives in the Amazon.
“Greta said the Indians died because they were defending the Amazon,” Bolsonaro told reporters. “It is impressive that the press is giving space to a brat like that,” he said, using the Portuguese word for brat, “pirralha.”
The activist responded by briefly changing her Twitter biography to “Pirralha“.
He previously disagreed with the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who questioned climate science and repealed many climate laws of the United States, and with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who once called her a “kind but bad teenager informed. “
In announcing Time’s decision on NBC, editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said: “She became the biggest voice on the biggest problem the planet faces this year, coming from nowhere to lead a global movement.”
The tradition of the magazine, which began as the Man of the Year, recognizes the person that “for better or worse … has done more to influence the events of the year.” Last year, he named murdered and jailed journalists, calling them “The Guardians.”
What happened in Madrid?
At the COP25 Climate Conference in Madrid, Greta Thunberg accused the world powers of making constant attempts to “negotiate gaps and avoid increasing their ambition.”
“The real danger is when politicians and CEOs make it seem like real action is happening when, in fact, almost nothing is being done apart from smart accounting and creative public relations,” he said, causing applause.
“In just three weeks we will enter a new decade, a decade that will define our future,” he added. “Right now, we are desperate for any sign of hope.”
Beyond that, Ms. Thunberg, 16, became the main face of a movement that has inspired millions of other children in at least 100 countries to passionately defend action against climate change.
Ms. Thunberg is also known for expressing her anger and dismay with adults who are not, say, on the same page.