Greta Thunberg is TIME’s 2019 person of the year, inspiring student activists

Greta Thunberg was named TIME's 2019 person of the year.

Photo source: TIME

Greta Thunberg was named TIME’s 2019 person of the year.

Vivian Zhao, Editor in Chief, Editorial Editor & Columnist

Sixteen year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg was named  TIME’s Person of the Year for 2019 on Wednesday, Dec. 11, becoming the youngest person to earn this distinction. 

“As young as she is, it’s incredible that she is making such a big difference,” senior Pooja Shet said. Thunberg is known for calling attention to climate change through speaking to the United Nations Climate Action Summit and leading Fridays for Future, where students skip school to protest climate change. 

“A lot of people talk about how she’s just a little girl and has Asperger’s, and they think that she can’t have a legitimate opinion,” senior Alyssa Rickert said.

Her young age and stance on climate change has attracted criticism.

“I think it’s great that she’s been able to overcome that and go from protesting alone to a global movement.” Rickert said. 

Naperville Central students participated in Fridays for Future protests on Sept. 20 and Dec. 6. 

“Climate change is an important issue that we should be focusing on,” Shet said. “It’s important that she’s bringing attention to the issue. There’s stuff being done to make our world more eco-friendly, but obviously it’s not enough” 

TIME’s recognition of ‘ Thunberg’s work is another sign of students’ increasing influence. 

“It shows that  if an issue is important, you can be really influential and do something about it,” Rickert said.