Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage environment activist, was chosen as TIME Magazine's 2019 "Person of the Year," the magazine announced Wednesday morning.
"She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement," Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal told "TODAY," in an interview announcing the magazine's decision.
The 16-year-old Thunberg is youngest person ever to be named Person of the Year, Felsenthal added.
Thunberg has become a worldwide celebrity for her work to raise awareness about climate change and environmental activism. Over the summer, Thunberg addressed the United Nations after she sailed across the Atlantic from England to New York. Since then, Thuneberg has traveled around the country and the world, advocating for climate change and action.
"We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow," she told TIME. "That is all we are saying."
Thunberg was chosen over several other finalists, which included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Women's World Cup Champion Megan Rapinoe, and the anonymous CIA whistleblower who sparked the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
"Thunberg began a global movement by skipping school: starting in August 2018, she spent her days camped out in front of the Swedish Parliament, holding a sign painted in black letters on a white background that read Skolstrejk för klimatet: ‘School Strike for Climate,’" TIME wrote. "In the 16 months since, she has addressed heads of state at the U.N., met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history."
'Hong Kong Protesters' won TIME's 2019 Person of the Year Reader Poll, with more than 30% of visitors to the 2019 poll choosing the tens of thousands of demonstrators who have taken to the streets of Hong Kong to protest China's ever-tightening control over the city.
Photo: TIME Magazine, Getty Images