Climate Change Activist and Vegan Greta Thunberg is Time’s Person of the Year
What were you doing at 16? Just when we were starting to feel accomplished for having switched to plant-based eating, helping our bodies and the planet, along comes the latest issue of Time magazine with it's "Person of the Year" on the cover. Beating out Trump, Nancy Pelosi and Hong Kong Protesters, The Whistleblower and everyone else, from Baby Yoda to Rudy Giuliani, Thunberg (pronounced Tune-berg) is one of the most noteworthy youngsters we have ever witnessed in action.
A loner who calls herself "different" from other kids her age, 16-year old Greta Thunberg introduces herself this way: "I am 16, Swedish, an activist, and I want you to panic." She first catapulted onto the scene back in August of 2018, when the media first noticed that her single-minded movement to skip school on Fridays in order to protest climate change outside the Stockholm capital building was heating up, and it sparked others to do the same, well outside of her native Sweden. Kids all over America and other continents began to wage climate "strikes" and got the attention of parents, teachers, legislators, and journalists.
Thunberg took her show on the road, sailing the Atlantic, showing up at the UN and calling on the world's leaders to get "woke" fast about the fact that, as she phrased it: "Our house is on fire." In her TED talk, Thunberg reveals that she has Asberger's Syndrome, and that singular focus may be a natural asset in her struggle to be heard. Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal explained that in choosing her as their POTY, the fact that she was a single person with a hand-made sign standing outside a building just 14 months ago -- and that sparked climate protests in cities as far-reaching as Hong Kong and New York City -- was their primary reason for the choice.
A vegan, Greta is the youngest person in history to be named Time's Person of the Year, brought the ire of President Trump, who tweeted: "So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!" Thunberg reacted by changing her Twitter bio to read: "A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.")
In the scuffle, Melania Trump, who has made anti-bullying a cause, was asked to react to her husband's bullying tweet, and the First Lady's press secretary defended her on Twitter, saying that Mrs. Trump and the President communicate differently. The First Lady had lashed out to defend her son Barron, 13, when his name was brought up by a professor testifying during the impeachment proceedings, as a teenager who deserves to be left out of the fray. Kate Bennett, the press secretary, then defended the First Lady with this Tweet:
Thunberg first kicked off her global movement back in August of 2018 after protesting inaction on climate change by skipping school to sit outside Swedish Parliament with a sign that read 'Skolstrejk för klimatet', or School Strike for Climate. This protest caught on and inspired students the globe over to do the same, and a year later we were all thinking: Wait, should we skip work and head out to protest? She had our collective attention. But it seems this one is for the young, and the rest of us over 25 year-olds are blamed for leaving our watch and letting things get out of hand. If there is any hope to be had in the current situation, it's that the next generation is back at it, hands on the wheel, helping steer us --and the planet-- back in the right direction.
The first step for most who want to personalize their commitment to helping reverse the trend of climate change is eating vegan, which reduces carbon and methane emissions more than any other step such as not flying or driving a hybrid car. Thunberg has hit us over the head, and now it's up to the rest of us to get on board. Time's cover story is a great place to start, and eating a whole-foods plant-based diet is another. Check out how to get started, here.
Since the protests started, Thunberg has spoken at the United Nations Climate Talk, won the International Children's Peace Prize and even contributed a voiceover to the band The 1975's eponymous song with proceeds being donated to Extinction Rebellion, a global environmental movement.
Through Fridays for Future, Greta is urging governments all around the world to take action and reduce their carbon emissions, Thunberg, who took a 4-week boat trip across the Atlantic instead of opting to fly, acknowledges there are things we can do within our own lives to make an impact, including reducing their carbon footprint by reducing their meat intake. Greta herself is vegan and has called on others to follow her lead and cut back on their consumption of meat and dairy products, inspiring both of her parents to go plant-based.