Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year was Greta Thunberg, a seventeen year old girl with Aspergers. However, neither of those are what she’s known for. Greta Thunberg founded School Strike for Climate, a group of youth demanding for political leaders to address and take action on preventing climate change by skipping class on Fridays to protest. Starting with a single strike, Greta Thunberg influenced millions internationally, and these strikes have grown into something much more. Greta Thunberg is truly a leader of the youth of this generation, and earned her spot as Time’s person of the year.
Time Magazine has a very specific process for choosing their Person of the Year. They talk to people across the world, to see how people’s impact is far and wide. In Sao Paolo, Isabella Prata, mother of two climate strikers, said “Greta is an image of all of this generation.” In the September elections in Austria, the Green Party more than tripled its support, and it was credited to Greta Thunberg. Internationally, Greta Thunberg has impacted people and the environment, by clearly speaking up for what the youth want, and making her name known in the process. Her heading on the magazine itself was “Greta Thunberg: The Power of Youth”.
However, people have complaints against Time’s decision. Specifically, people like our own President. “So ridiculous,” President Trump tweeted in response to the Time cover. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!” Trump has no issues with attacking a sixteen year old speaking up for youth everywhere, but it’s more than a terrible comment. Back in 2012, he tweeted “I knew last year that @TIME Magazine lost all credibility when they didn’t include me in their Top 100…,”. In response to 2015’s choosing of Angela Merkel, he tweeted “I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite They picked person who is ruining Germany.” Trump finally received Person of the Year, in 2016. He was then runner-up in 2017, to the Silence-Breakers, and considered in the list of the most influential for the past two years. Sharing a title with a sixteen year old he previously shared comments about clearly wasn’t what he was anticipating, and he has a track record of reacting badly to Time’s decision. This year was no different.
Thunberg is Time’s youngest Person of the Year. Historically, they’ve been world leaders, people climbing their way to the top over the years, people with universal power in their hands. But, this year, Time took a different route. While talking about influence and power, Time says, “It is wielded by people like Thunberg, leaders with a cause and a phone who don’t fit the old rubrics but who connect with us in ways that institutions can’t and perhaps never could.” Greta Thunberg is truly making history, and in 2019, Time decided to address it.
By Mihika Shivakumar