Greta Thunberg, who was just named Time's 2019 person of the year, says she's 'tired of selfies' and meetings with politicians

Greta Thunberg UK Parliament

In the summer of 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.Advertisement

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."

greta thunberg selfie

'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 president Justin Trudeau. She has ridden bikes with former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and hung out with actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio.Advertisement

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, centre, arrives for a meeting in the French National Assembly, in Paris, France, Tuesdays, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh )

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.Advertisement

Thunberg is currently in Madrid, Spain, 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."

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg attends the High-Level event on Climate Emergency during the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain December 11, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera

"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 the 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."Advertisement

greta thunberg

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 range 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.Advertisement

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."