The Life of Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg has just become the youngest person named Time magazine's Person of the Year — here's how she did it.

Holding world leaders accountable

Thunberg — who journeyed to New York on a zero-emissions boat and had a meme-worthy stare-down with Donald Trump — called out world leaders for not doing enough to protect the planet. During her speech, Thunberg also challenged leaders to think bigger than merely cutting emissions in half in the coming years, which has been a common target among those hoping to tackle the crisis the 2015 Paris climate agreement — which the Trump administration pulled out of in 2017 — would have reduced carbon emissions in the U.S. by 26 percent by 2050. At the 2029 COP25 conference in Madrid, Thunberg criticized world leaders for not doing enough to reverse the climate crisis. In December 2019 she was named Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year. She is the youngest person ever to receive the honor.

Speaking up for a generation

“A year and a half ago I didn't speak to anyone unless I really had to but then I found a reason to speak. Since then, I have given many speeches and learned that when you talk in public, you should start with something personal or emotional to get everyone's attention. Say things like our house is on fire, I wanted to panic or how dare you. But today I won't do that because then those phrases are all that people focus on. They don't remember the facts, the very reason why I say those things in the first place. We no longer have time to leave out the science,” Great Thunberg tells Time Magazine.

Faced with these facts

According to the United Nations, sea levels are rising, the Arctic is getting warmer (by 34°F since 1990), and global emissions are reaching record levels. UN Secretary-General António Guterres invited world leaders, activists, and scientists to meet for a Climate Action Summit in New York City. And while the assembly produced several plans of action — like this proposal to make cities in the U.S., Europe, Turkey, Indonesia, and Kenya more sustainable — 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg's impassioned speech stole the show.