Climate activist Greta Thunberg named Time's Person of the Year 2019 for 'turning vague anxieties about the planet into a worldwide movement'

  • Greta Thunberg was named Time's youngest "person of the year" on 11 December.

  • Thunberg was in Madrid on Wednesday, where she addressed negotiators at the UN’s COP25 climate talks, when the announcement was made.

  • 'We can't just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow,' Thunberg told Time.

Teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was named Time’s youngest “person of the year” on 11 December.

Thunberg, 16, has become the face of the youth climate movement, drawing large crowds with her appearances at protests and conferences over the past year and a half. Some have welcomed her activism, including her speeches challenging world leaders to do more to stop global warming. But others have criticized her sometimes combative tone.

 Climate activist Greta Thunberg named Times Person of the Year 2019 for turning vague anxieties about the planet into a worldwide movement

This photo provided by Time magazine shows Greta Thunberg, who has been named Time’s youngest “person of the year” on 11 December, 2019. The media franchise said on Wednesday on its website that Thunberg is being honored for work that transcends backgrounds and borders. Photo by Time via The Associated Press.

“For sounding the alarm about humanity’s predatory relationship with the only home we have, for bringing to a fragmented world a voice that transcends backgrounds and borders, for showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads, Greta Thunberg is TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year,” the media franchise said Wednesday on its website.

Thunberg, in an interview with Time, said, "We can't just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow. That is all we are saying."

Thunberg was in Madrid on Wednesday, where she addressed negotiators at the UN’s COP25 climate talks.

Time in its piece on Thunberg wrote: "The politics of climate action are as entrenched and complex as the phenomenon itself, and Thunberg has no magic solution. But she has succeeded in creating a global attitudinal shift, transforming millions of vague, middle-of-the-night anxieties into a worldwide movement calling for urgent change. She has offered a moral clarion call to those who are willing to act, and hurled shame on those who are not."

Last year’s Time winners included slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, where five people were shot to death; Philippine journalist Maria Ressa; and two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

Thunberg rose to global prominence last year by taking time off school to demonstrate outside Swedish parliament about the lack of action to combat climate change. Inspired by her weekly protest, millions of young people protested around the globe to put pressure on governments to act.

She was also one of the most talked-about contenders for this year's Nobel Peace Prize for her youth, outspokenness and confrontational approach.

— With inputs from The Associated Press

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Updated Date: Dec 11, 2019 19:59:32 IST