Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg has been named Time’s 2019 Person of the Year.
On Wednesday, the magazine unveiled its cover, featuring the Swedish environmental activist who made headlines in September for giving an impassioned speech at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit.
“She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement,” editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal told the “Today” show.
The Stockholm native became known for her activism when she staged a protest in August 2018 outside the Swedish Parliament, holding a sign that read (in Swedish): “School strike for the climate.” Afterward, other students engaged in similar climate change protests throughout Europe — and then around the globe.
“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! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she famous exclaimed to world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. “And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. 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!”
“You are failing us,” she continued. “But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.”
President Donald Trump later tweeted a video of her speech, adding: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
Thunberg seemingly responded by changing her Twitter bio to read, “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
Per a recent episode of “Today,” contenders for 2019 Person of the Year included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump, the Hong Kong protesters, and the anonymous whistleblower who triggered Trump’s impeachment inquiry.