Greta Thunberg is Time’s 2019 Person of the Year

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This photo provided by Time magazine shows Greta Thunberg, who has been named Time’s youngest “person of the year” on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. The media franchise said Wednesday on its website that Thunberg is being honored for work that transcends backgrounds and borders. (Time via AP)

(CBS News) – Time magazine on Wednesday announced that teen climate activist Greta Thunberg is its 2019 Person of the Year. Time said Thunberg won the award “for sounding the alarm about humanity’s predatory relationship with the only home we have, for bringing to a fragmented world a voice that transcends backgrounds and borders, for showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads.”

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in the school strike demonstration Fridays for future in Berlin, Germany, July 19, 2019. (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)

The 16-year-old Thunberg first made headlines last year with her solitary strike against climate change outside Sweden’s parliament. Since then, she’s inspired millions of supporters to rally in more than 150 countries.

In September, she scolded world leaders at the United Nations for failing to address climate change.

“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” she said, as she fought back tears. “How dare you! For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, far left, and young environmental activists look on as Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, far right, addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Thunberg, who was attending U.N. climate talks in Madrid on Wednesday, reacted to the news on Twitter.

When asked by “CBS This Morning” in September how she found the confidence to speak so clearly, Thunberg said that “I just know what is right and I want to do what is right. I want to make sure I have done anything, everything in my power to stop this crisis from happening, to prevent it.”

“I have Asperger’s, I’m on the autism spectrum, so I don’t really care about social codes that way,” she added.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, centre, arrives for a meeting in the French National Assembly, in Paris, France, Tuesdays, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh )

In some cases, she said, her neurodiversity gives her an advantage. It “makes you different and makes you think differently,” she said. “Especially in a big crisis like this one, we need to think outside the box, we need to think outside our current system, we need people who think outside the box and who aren’t like everyone else.”

This year’s Time Entertainer of the Year goes to Lizzo. The “Good as Hell” singer often incorporates themes of confidence and self-love into her music.

The U.S.  women’s national soccer team clinched Time’s Sports Figure of the Year.

Time earlier released a list of Person of the Year finalists, which included Thunberg, President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the anonymous whistleblower,  Rudy Giuliani, soccer star Megan Rapinoe, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg the Hong Kong protesters.

Last year, slain Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and other journalists that Time magazine called “the guardians” were named Person of the Year.

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