- Time Magazine announced today that Greta Thunberg is Person of the Year for 2019 and based solely on her actions while she was in Montreal, we knew she was, in fact, the Person of the Year.
- Find out all about Greta's influence on Montreal below!
Time Magazine announced today that Greta Thunberg is Person of the Year for 2019. During this year, she continued her School Strike for Climate, which sparked students and non-students across the globe to do the same.
She crossed the Atlantic by boat. She reportedly drove Arnold Schwarzenegger's car to Montreal from New York City. She spoke at the U.N. and inspired millions around the globe to demand action from their governments. Having watched Thunberg march through Montreal myself, I can say that, even then, she had already shown she was 2019's Person of the Year.
Greta entered my life the way she likely did for many others, when I saw her Instagram photo circulating around the Internet, with a caption that read:
"We children usually do not do as you tell us to do, we do as you do. And since you adults shit on my future, so do I. I'm striking for the climate until the election day."
The girl with braided hair and a stark white sign that read "SKOLSTREJK FÖR KLIMATET" in large black letters.
The girl that led over half a million people through downtown Montreal to demand action from our politicians no later than now.
Even in March of 2018, Greta's activism had managed to pull at least 65,000 Quebec students from their classrooms and onto the street to take part in what had become a global "School Strike for Climate."
So when she finally announced she would be joining the climate strike in Montreal, planned by local Quebec activists on September 27, 2019, even more students sat up in their seats and felt the burning desire to protest.
It was a burning desire fueled by the rising temperature of the planet, a heat that had the students shouting.
"On est plus chaud, plus chaud, plus chaud que le climat."
We're hotter, hotter, hotter than the planet.
And by hotter, they meant steaming mad.
Thunberg has continued to speak through other young people, other students her age, who have taken up her message and her passion. Students who now march through their own streets demanding more of their own governments.
But she also speaks on their behalf, when she makes visits to the United Nations, demanding, "How dare you?" Or when she denies accolades in order to focus on getting real action.
We saw this when she was in Montreal, too.
In a rare turn of events, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was present at the Montreal Climate Strike, participating in a protest that was fundamentally against his own government.
Many students were outraged by his presence and even implored him not to come.
Thunberg used her time in Montreal to insist that Trudeau, like many leaders, was "of course [...] not doing enough."
Compare this to Thunberg's willingness to accept the key to the city here in Montreal, where she spent time with our mayor, Valérie Plante.
There's no question that Plante and Thunberg saw eye-to-eye, as Plante has proven herself to be one of the most dedicated municipal leaders when it comes to drafting drastic and necessary legislature regarding environmentalism.
Plante was one of only three municipal leaders allowed to speak at the U.N. Climate Action Summit, where she promised to reduce, by 2030, Montreal's emissions by 55%.
After Greta's visit to Montreal, we saw mayor Valerie Plante committed to a complete overhaul of Ville-Marie, one of Montreal busiest downtown hubs.
Since then, Montrealers have learned of plans for a park eight times bigger than New York's Central Park, and a borough with no cars.
While credit goes to Plante and Plante alone for the hard work that has been done to make Montreal a leader in green cities while she has been mayor, Greta's impact on the young people living here is unquestionable.
It was clear to me since her visit here that Greta Thunberg is absolutely 2019's Person of the Year, because she spent the whole year thinking about the future, and not just her own.