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Thunberg Time’s Person of the Year

Published : Thursday, 12 December, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 840

Thunberg Time’s Person of the Year

Thunberg Time’s Person of the Year

NEW YORK, Dec 11: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2019,
NBC's Today show announced on Wednesday.
Thunberg, who turns 17 in January and who is known for her blunt, straightforward speaking manner, has urged immediate action to address what she describes as the global climate crisis.
Each year, the magazine features the most influential person, group, movement or idea of the previous 12 months. Last year, it was "The Guardians," a group of journalists who have been targeted or assaulted for their work. In 2017, it was "The Silence Breakers," the group of people who came forward to report sexual misconduct. Past Persons of the Year include Adolf Hitler, Ayatollah Khomeini and Joseph Stalin.
Time editor Ed Felsenthal unveiled the Person of the Year on the "Today" show on Wednesday. The shortlist this year included Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, The Whistleblower and the Hong Kong protestors.
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 fr klimatet: "School Strike for Climate."
Thunberg is not a leader of any political party or advocacy group. She is neither the first to sound the alarm about the climate crisis nor the most qualified to fix it. She is not a scientist or a politician. She has no access to traditional levers of influence: she's not a billionaire or a princess, a pop star or even an adult. She is an ordinary teenage girl who, in summoning the courage to speak truth to power, became the icon of a generation. By clarifying an abstract danger with piercing outrage, Thunberg became the most compelling voice on the most important issue facing the planet.
Along the way, she emerged as a standard bearer in a generational battle, an avatar of youth activists across the globe fighting for everything from gun control to democratic representation. Her global climate strike is the largest and most international of all the youth movements, but it's hardly the only one: teenagers in the US are organizing against gun violence and flocking to progressive candidates; students in Hong Kong are battling for democratic representation; and young people from South America to Europe are agitating for remaking the global economy.
Thunberg is not aligned with these disparate protests, but her insistent presence has come to represent the fury of youth worldwide. According to a December Amnesty International survey, young people in 22 countries identified climate change as the most important issue facing the world. She is a reminder that the people in charge now will not be in charge forever, and that the young people who are inheriting dysfunctional governments, broken economies and an increasingly unlivable planet know just how much the adults have failed them.
"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.
Thunberg's moment comes just as urgent scientific reality collides with global political uncertainty. Each year that we dump more carbon into the atmosphere, the planet grows nearer to a point of no return, where life on earth as we know it will change unalterably. Scientifically, the planet can't afford another setback; politically, this may be our best chance to make sweeping change before it's too late.




    -REUTERS




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