Time Magazine has selected Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year. Thunberg rapidly rose to prominence when she blasted world leaders at the United Nations in September for their inaction on battling climate change.
“My message is that we’ll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!” said Thunberg.
Her speech was only three minutes, but it was blistering and struck a chord worldwide, leading to climate change marches in numerous countries including Canada, the largest in Montreal in September, attended by Thunberg, as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the federal election campaign.
“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,” Timed editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote.
Thunberg’s icy stare at U.S. President Donald Trump as the two briefly crossed paths at the United Nations in September also made headlines. Trump skipped a UN summit on climate change that day to attend a meeting about religious freedom.
Several world leaders have bristled at being lectured by Thunberg.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Thunberg is a “kind and sincere girl” but claimed she is being manipulated by others. Earlier this week, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro called Thunberg a “brat” after she condemned violence against indigenous people who were killed in the Amazon.