Greta 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.
“She symbolizes the agony, the frustration, the desperation, the anger—at some level, the hope—of many young people who won’t even be of age to vote by the time their futures are doomed,” says Varshini Prakash, 26, who co-founded the Sunrise Movement, a U.S. youth advocacy group pushing for a Green New Deal.
Time 2019 | Person of the Year | Greta Thunberg
Photographs by Evgenia Arbugaeva
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