Climate Change Activist Greta Thunberg Named 2019 TIME Person of the Year

The 2019 TIME Person of the Year was announced on Wednesday, December 11, and it was a historic one. 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg received the honor, making her the youngest person to be honored by the magazine.

Thunberg beat out Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Donald Trump, Hong Kong Protesters, and the Ukraine whistleblower for the honor.

“Thunberg has become the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet—and the avatar of a broader generational shift in our culture that is playing out everywhere from the campuses of Hong Kong to the halls of Congress in Washington,” Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote.

Thunberg received worldwide attention with her emotional speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City. Thunberg, who has Asperger’s syndrome, sailed to the United States on a zero-emissions boat to attend the summit.

“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing,” she said in a 2018 viral speech in front of world leaders. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

Since then, people could not get enough of the fiery teen.

“We describe it as the person who influenced the years’ events most, for better or for worse. But I really think of it as Time is about the people and ideas that shape the world and Person of the Year is about the people who shaped the year,” Felsenthal told CNN Business.

Other TIME honorees for 2019 were also announced in new categories. Athlete of the year went to the US women’s soccer team, Lizzo was named entertainer of the year, and business person of the year is Disney CEO Bob Iger.

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