Climate activist Greta Thunberg is Time's Person of the Year

In barely months, a 16 year-old Swedish activist has changed the record on climate change, drawing the attention of the world to a problem as it becomes critical--and the contemptuous wrath of politicians and pundits who think she'll go away if they just call her a stupid little brat again. Greta Thunberg is Time's Person of the Year for 2019.

We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow,” she says, tugging on the sleeve of her blue sweatshirt. “That is all we are saying.”

It’s a simple truth, delivered by a teenage girl in a fateful moment. The sailboat, La Vagabonde, will shepherd Thunberg to the Port of Lisbon, and from there she will travel to Madrid, where the United Nations is hosting this year’s climate conference. It is the last such summit before nations commit to new plans to meet a major deadline set by the Paris Agreement. Unless they agree on transformative action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the world’s temperature rise since the Industrial Revolution will hit the 1.5°C mark—an eventuality that scientists warn will expose some 350 million additional people to drought and push roughly 120 million people into extreme poverty by 2030.