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Time Magazine’s selection for 2019’s ‘Person of the Year’ award is a controversial, though not unprecedented one: Greta Thunberg.
The child climate activist from Sweden who skips school and preached “How dare you?” at the UN several months ago has become an almost religious symbol of leftists and climate crusaders everywhere.
The Hong Kong protestors fighting for democracy were one of the finalists of the Time award, but were narrowly defeated and thrown to the wayside by Time’s editors to instead choose Greta Thunberg.
Are you surprised at Time’s pick?
Watch Time Magazine's video of Greta Thunberg as 'Person of the Year' here:
Here's how Greta herself reacted to the win:
Failed Democrat 2020 candidate Kamala Harris was among those who praised Greta as Time's 'Person of the Year':
Others did not share the same enthusiasm.
Don Jr. blasted the award as a "marketing gimmick" that leaves out Hong Kong protestors:
Others agreed with Don Jr. that a Hong Kong protestor should have won the award:
Newsmax's John Cardillo called Time's choice as the final nail in the coffin of their credibility:
Here's more on Greta Thunberg's 'Person of the Year' award, from Time Magazine:
Greta Thunberg sits in silence in the cabin of the boat that will take her across the Atlantic Ocean. Inside, there’s a cow skull hanging on the wall, a faded globe, a child’s yellow raincoat. Outside, it’s a tempest: rain pelts the boat, ice coats the decks, and the sea batters the vessel that will take this slight girl, her father and a few companions from Virginia to Portugal. For a moment, it’s as if Thunberg were the eye of a hurricane, a pool of resolve at the center of swirling chaos. In here, she speaks quietly. Out there, the entire natural world seems to amplify her small voice, screaming along with her.
“We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow,” she says, tugging on the sleeve of her blue sweatshirt. “That is all we are saying.”
It’s a simple truth, delivered by a teenage girl in a fateful moment. The sailboat, La Vagabonde, will shepherd Thunberg to the Port of Lisbon, and from there she will travel to Madrid, where the United Nations is hosting this year’s climate conference. It is the last such summit before nations commit to new plans to meet a major deadline set by the Paris Agreement. Unless they agree on transformative action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the world’s temperature rise since the Industrial Revolution will hit the 1.5°C mark—an eventuality that scientists warn will expose some 350 million additional people to drought and push roughly 120 million people into extreme poverty by 2030. For every fraction of a degree that temperatures increase, these problems will worsen. This is not fearmongering; this is science. For decades, researchers and activists have struggled to get world leaders to take the climate threat seriously. But this year, an unlikely teenager somehow got the world’s attention.
Thunberg began a global movement by skipping school: starting in August 2018, she spent her days camped out in front of the Swedish Parliament, holding a sign painted in black letters on a white background that read Skolstrejk för klimatet: “School Strike for Climate.” In the 16 months since, she has addressed heads of state at the U.N., met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history. Her image has been celebrated in murals and Halloween costumes, and her name has been attached to everything from bike shares to beetles. Margaret Atwood compared her to Joan of Arc. After noticing a hundredfold increase in its usage, lexicographers at Collins Dictionary named Thunberg’s pioneering idea, climate strike, the word of the year.
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. She has persuaded leaders, from mayors to Presidents, to make commitments where they had previously fumbled: after she spoke to Parliament and demonstrated with the British environmental group Extinction Rebellion, the U.K. passed a law requiring that the country eliminate its carbon footprint. She has focused the world’s attention on environmental injustices that young indigenous activists have been protesting for years. 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.
“This moment does feel different,” former Vice President Al Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his decades of climate advocacy work, tells TIME. “Throughout history, many great morally based movements have gained traction at the very moment when young people decided to make that movement their cause.”
Thunberg is 16 but looks 12. She usually wears her light brown hair pulled into two braids, parted in the middle. She has Asperger’s syndrome, which means she doesn’t operate on the same emotional register as many of the people she meets. She dislikes crowds; ignores small talk; and speaks in direct, uncomplicated sentences. She cannot be flattered or distracted. She is not impressed by other people’s celebrity, nor does she seem to have interest in her own growing fame. But these very qualities have helped make her a global sensation. Where others smile to cut the tension, Thunberg is withering. Where others speak the language of hope, Thunberg repeats the unassailable science: Oceans will rise. Cities will flood. Millions of people will suffer.
“I want you to panic,” she told the annual convention of CEOs and world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. “I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”
Thunberg is not a leader of any political party or advocacy group. She is neither the first to sound the alarm about the climate crisis nor the most qualified to fix it. She is not a scientist or a politician. She has no access to traditional levers of influence: she’s not a billionaire or a princess, a pop star or even an adult. She is an ordinary teenage girl who, in summoning the courage to speak truth to power, became the icon of a generation. By clarifying an abstract danger with piercing outrage, Thunberg became the most compelling voice on the most important issue facing the planet.
Townhall shared some insight on Thunberg's reception of the Time Magazine award:
There may have been plenty of snubs at the Golden Globes nomination ceremony this week, but the slights that occurred at TIME magazine may be even more egregious.
Protesters in Hong Kong have endured persecution for pushing back against a bill that would have forced criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China, where they more likely than not would have been subjected to unfair trials. The bill was scrapped in October, but the initial protests have developed into a wider pro-democracy movement. Some demonstrators have been subject to police brutality. But they remain brave and hopeful, and it's been a powerful sight to see them waving American flags in their quest for liberty.
Those freedom fighters were finalists in TIME's Person of the Year contest. But they were narrowly defeated by someone else. You may recognize her.
In TIME's own words, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg began her climate campaign "by skipping school." Instead of attending classes, she protested in front of the Swedish Parliament to try and spur a climate change strike. Her effort gained momentum, and she was quickly invited to speak at forums across the globe to glare at and lecture leaders she claims aren't doing enough to address the current "crisis."
At some appearances, including those at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and the United Nations General Assembly, many would agree she did more yelling than problem solving. "How dare you!" she told her UN audience. She also glared at President Trump from afar, which is apparently another reason TIME gave her the honor.
"In the 16 months since, she has addressed heads of state at the U.N., met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history," TIME writes.