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Time Names Its Person of the Year

Greta Thunberg 'sparked a collective movement to fight climate change'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2019 6:59 AM CST

(Newser) – Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who, per NBC News, "sparked a collective movement to fight climate change," has been named Time's 2019 Person of the Year. The magazine made its announcement on the Today show. Thunberg, 16, beat out other finalists that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Trump, the Hong Kong protesters, and the whistleblower who triggered the Ukraine scandal that has led to Trump's impeachment. The teen's protests against global warming started out as a solo venture in 2018, when she started skipping school on Fridays to sit outside Sweden's parliament building with a sign that read "School Strike for Climate." She was soon joined by other students in her hometown, and then across Europe, kicking off what became known as the Fridays for Future movement.

She's had quite a journey since. In the nearly year and a half since her first August 2018 protest, Thunberg has "addressed heads of state at the UN, met with the pope, sparred with the president of the United States, and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on Sept. 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history," per Time. Thunberg has also been candid about having Asperger's syndrome, which she calls "a superpower." The day before Time made its announcement, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called Thunberg a "pirralha," the Portuguese word for "brat," after she spoke out about violence against indigenous people in the Amazon, per CNN. After Bolsonaro's remarks, Thunberg temporarily changed her Twitter bio to include the word "pirralha." (Read more Greta Thunberg stories.)

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