Greta Thunberg, climate change activist with Asperger’s syndrome, is Time Person of the Year
Greta Thunberg, the climate change activist from Sweden, who has inspired a global movement for the cause, has been named Person of the Year by Time magazine. Greta, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is the youngest person ever to be honoured in this way.
From former United States President Barack Obama to students in India, the world knows Greta Thunberg. This 16-year-old Swedish activist is the face of the fight against climate change. With her single-minded pursuit to the cause, Greta is inspiring people around the world to join the crusade. The impact she is making has been recognised by the prestigious Time magazine, which has name Greta Time Person of the Year. This is an annual honour and Greta, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is the youngest person to get it.
Greta became famous in August 2018 when she did not go to school to protest against the indifference shown by world leaders towards fighting climate change. In the Time issue, Greta has said, “We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow. That is all we are saying.”
The Person of the Year recognition is given to people who have the greatest influence on the world in any given year. Greta has spoken at different climate conferences, criticised world leaders and refused to back down even in the face of nasty comments about her autism characteristics.
“Thunberg stands on the shoulders — and at the side — of hundreds of thousands of others who’ve been blockading the streets and settling the science, many of them since before she was born. She is also the first to note that her privileged background makes her ‘one of the lucky ones,’ as she puts it, in a crisis that disproportionately affects poor and indigenous communities. But this was the year the climate crisis went from behind the curtain to center stage, from ambient political noise to squarely on the world’s agenda, and no one did more to make that happen than Thunberg. – Edward Felsenthal, Time Editor in Chief
Greta’s selection has been praised by Hillary Clinton, who tweeted that she “couldn’t think of a better Person of the Year.”. She added, “I am grateful for all she’s done to raise awareness of the climate crisis and her willingness to tell hard, motivating truths”.
Greta tweeted her response to the news saying, “Wow, this is unbelievable! I share this great honour with everyone in the #FridaysForFuture movement and climate activists everywhere.”
Anupama Bakhshi, parent to a child with autism and an advocate says Greta is helping change perceptions. “Greta has shifted the focus sharply from ‘can’t do’ to ‘can move mountains’. A youth icon, a beacon of hope for the neuro-diverse, especially those on the autism spectrum, she has demonstrated that single minded focus and efforts can make the world stop and listen. Her being Time Person of the Year is an occasion to celebrate the intrinsic strengths that come with the autism spectrum”.
Seema Lal, Co-founder of the parent support group, TogetherWeCan, says the recognition is a sign of a changing attitudes towards people with disabilities. “Having Greta featured there means the Autism Voice is being heard and acknowledged finally. This will hopefully break the myth that any diagnosis is not just about deficits and limitations. When guided well it can personify determination and direction”.
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