(Gray News/AP) – Young environmental activist Greta Thunberg has been named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.”
“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,” Time said of Thunberg.
Thunberg, who was in Madrid on Wednesday to address negotiators at the U.N.'s COP25 climate talks, told The Associated Press she was “a bit surprised” by Time’s recognition.
She said she wanted to dedicate the award to all young activists.
The Swedish teen this year traveled across the Atlantic Ocean on an environmentally friendly watercraft to make an address to world leaders at the United Nations in New York, giving a memorable speech this September.
The 16-year-old began her climate action by camping out in front of Swedish Parliament in August 2018.
Thunberg has become the face of the youth climate movement. She has drawn large crowds with her appearances at protests and conferences over the past year and a half.
Some have welcomed her activism, including her speeches challenging world leaders to do more to stop global warming. But others have criticized her sometimes combative tone.
She is now planning to head home from the U.N. climate conference in Madrid to Sweden for some rest during the holidays.
The 16-year-old said she was hopeful that the message being pushed by her and other activists — that governments need to drastically increase their efforts to combat climate change — is finally getting through.
Other finalists for Person of the Year include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Donald Trump, The Hong Kong Protesters and the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint spurred the impeachment inquiry.