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- The 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg has become the face of the youth climate movement. On Wednesday, Time magazine named Thunberg the 2019 person of the year.
- In a video from Time, Thunberg said she tries to say no to meetings with politicians, since they consist of little more than "small talk" and "taking selfies."
- "I'm a bit tired of selfies right now," Thunberg said.
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In summer 2018, Greta Thunberg started sitting outside the Swedish parliament every Friday to urge leaders to take action on climate change.
A little over a year later, the 16-year-old environmental activist led the largest global climate strike in history, which involved an estimated 4 million people across 161 countries. Time magazine just named her the 2019 person of the year.
In a video interview with Time, Thunberg said she tries to say no to meetings with politicians when she can.
"It's just small talk, basically," Thunberg said. "And, of course, they want to take selfies."
She sighed, adding: "I'm a bit tired of selfies right now."
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'I try to say no to meeting with politicians'
The long list of celebrities and politicians who have met with Thunberg includes Pope Francis, former President Barack Obama, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
She has ridden bikes with former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and hung out with the actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio.
Thunberg has also addressed elected officials in the US Congress, UK Parliament, and French National Assembly. In September, she gave world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit an impassioned, tearful speech.
"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words," she said.
Thunberg is in Madrid at the COP25 climate summit.
But she told The Associated Press that most politicians "say they listen and they say they understand, but it sure doesn't seem like it."
"The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening, when in fact almost nothing is being done, apart from clever accounting and creative PR," she told AP, adding, "if they really would listen and understand, then I think they need to prove that by translating that into action."
Meeting Trump 'would be a waste of time, really'
During her fall visit to the US, Thunberg appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and DeGeneres asked if Thunberg would consider sitting down with President Donald Trump to "try to help him understand climate change."
Thunberg responded: "I don't understand why I would do that. I don't see what I could tell him that he hasn't already heard, and I just think it would be a waste of time, really."
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty
Trump, who has in the past called climate change a Chinese hoax, has initiated the process of pulling the US out of the Paris climate agreement. His administration has also catalyzed rollbacks on a variety of environmental policies, including the US Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Protection Agency's clean-water regulations.
While they haven't met, Trump and Thunberg did spar on Twitter.
After her fiery speech at the UN, Trump mockingly tweeted: "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"
Thunberg promptly changed her Twitter bio to: "A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future."
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