7 things you need to know about Time's youngest ever Person of the Year, Greta Thunberg

"A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future." (Photo: Time magazine cover -December 2019 issue)
"A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future." (Photo: Time magazine cover -December 2019 issue)

At just 16, Sweden's Greta Thunberg has not only taken on impending ecological collapse, she's also made history as the youngest ever to be named Time magazine's Person of the Year.

The climate change activist's gut-punching speeches have been a regular feature on nearly every social media platform, none more so than the one she presented at the UN Climate Action Summit earlier this year. 

Also see: OPINION: An environmental activist warns of ecological collapse

Watch speech below or on YouTube

For many who've watched Greta for the past year, the title comes as no surprise, since she's used her voice to mobilise young people across the world to not only take an interest in an issue impacting their future but also to do something about it. 

A bright spark in a sometimes dark world, if anything Greta gives us hope that future generations are in good hands. 

Here are 7 things you need to know about the history-making teen 

She skipped school to start a revolution 

It's been over a year since Greta began her efforts to raise awareness on climate change. 

Inspired by what she learned in school about ecological collapse, as well as the protests held by Parkland teen gun activists in the US, the then 15-year-old Greta started skipping school to picket outside the Swedish Parliament.

This was the start of what has now become the Fridays For Future movement, a fully-fledged organisation operating in 30 countries all consisting of teen activist who regularly 

She has a "superpower"

Greta learned about global warming at the age of 8, and became incredibly depressed as a result.

At 11, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and selective mutism.

Labelling the disorders the source of her "superpower," the teen says she probably would not be as tell-it-like-it-is otherwise. 

Her parents weren't always supportive of her activism

When she was asked to speak at the 2018 People's Climate March, Greta's parents were concerned that due to her selective mutism, she would not be able to address the crowd. 

Thanks to her drive, the teen managed to convince them to that she could do it. 

Greta has since said that having the condition means she only speaks "when I think it's necessary. Now is one of those moments." 

She was trolled by Trump

In all-too-typical Trump fashion, the world leader took to Twitter to troll the Swedish teen after her UN Climate Action Summit speech. 

"She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!" He wrote, for which he received intense backlash on the platform

But instead of being offended by the president's diss, the teen simply updated her bio with the shady Tweet. 

Greta Thunberg

Has the Twitter sparring king finally picked on someone his own size? 

Her mom and dad are entertainers

Greta is the child of Malenda Ernman, an opera singer and Svante Thunberg, an author, producer, and actor.

The family have come a long way since their apprehension about Greta's activism, and along with their younger daughter, Beata, have co-written a book titled Scenes from the Heart. 

The family's forthcoming title Our House Is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis is set to published next year. 

She never travels by plane

The teen has been vocal about her no-fly policy, preferring to travel by boat instead. During an appearance on the Daily Show, she explained this is due to "the enormous impact aviation has on the climate."

She writes her own speeches

Few people have the ability to deliver the kind of gut-punching speeches that seem to come so naturally to the 16-year-old, and she's previously confirmed the words are her own. 

"There is no one 'behind' me except for myself... And yes, I write my own speeches. But since I know that what I say is going to reach many, many people I often ask for input," she commented in a Facebook post addressing rumours that her speeches are not her own. 

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Youth around the world are marching to stop climate change

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