‘The climate movement does not need any more awards….’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Time magazine has named 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg its Person of the Year.
“She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement,” Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal said on Wednesday. “She embodies youth activism.”
The award, originally dubbed the Man (or Woman) of the Year, began as a process of determining “the person or group of people who most influenced the news and the world — for better or for worse — during the past year.”
2016’s Person of the Year was President Donald Trump, and last year’s was Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist murdered by the Saudi Arabian government, and other persecuted journalists, who were collectively called “guardians of truth.”
In terms of impact, Thunberg has had little. She’s even admitted as much.
“We have been striking now for over a year, and still basically nothing has happened,” she said last week. “The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power.”
Thunberg’s school walkouts and climate protests are significant, according to Felsenthal, because they “represent a broader generational shift in the culture.”
“Young people are demanding change, and urgently,” he said.
Thunberg received an environmental award in October but turned it down, saying “the climate movement does not need any more awards.”
“What we need is for our politicians and the people in power start to listen to the current, best available science,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
When asked whether Thunberg will react similarly to Time’s award, Felsenthal said, “I don’t know, but I think what she has done, her raise in influence, has been really extraordinary.”