Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg is Time’s ‘Person of the Year’

Time magazine announced its 2019 “Person of the Year” Wednesday — Sweden’s teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg speaks on September 20 at the Global Climate Strike in New York City. File Photo by John Angelillo/

Time said Greta “has offered a moral clarion call to those who are willing to act, and hurled shame on those who are not” and persuaded world leaders to “make commitments where they had previously fumbled.”

For example, the magazine cited the passage of a British environmental law in June after the 16-year-old girl spoke to members of parliament in London and participated with the “Extinction Rebellion” protests.

“Because of her, hundreds of thousands of teenage ‘Gretas,’ from Lebanon to Liberia, have skipped school to lead their peers in climate strikes around the world,” Time wrote.


The magazine said her efforts — which included sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to this week’s COP25 climate conference in Spain, and crossing the ocean in a similar manner in August to get to the U.N. General Assembly — have focused great attention on the issue of climate change, especially among the world’s young people.

Speaking at the conference in Madrid on Wednesday, Thunberg kept up pressure on leaders to act with urgency. Although pledges to cut carbon emissions in developed nations might appear helpful, she said, they are merely acts of “clever accounting and creative PR.”

“Countries are finding clever ways around having to take real action,” she said. “Like double-counting emissions reductions and moving emissions overseas and walking back on their promises to increase ambitions, or refusing to pay for solutions or loss and damage.

ByDon Jacobson