Reading Time: 3 minutes Thunberg wants action - not awards
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has declined a major award – saying the climate ‘doesn’t need any more awards’.

The 16-year-old environmentalist shot to global fame over the last year after inspiring millions of students around the world to ‘strike’ from school to demand political action on climate change as part of her ‘Fridays for Future’ movement.

In that time she has picked up multiple honors. But she declined the latest – the Nordic Council’s environmental award 2019, and its accompanying prize money of around $50,000 – and shared her reasoning.

‘Listening not prizes’

Thunberg took to Instagram to discuss why she would not be accepting the award. While she thanked the Nordic Council, saying the award was a ‘huge honor’, she added: “The climate movement does not need any more awards. What we need is for our politicians and the people in power start to listen to the current, best available science.

“The Nordic countries have a great reputation around the world when it comes to climate and environmental issues. There is no lack of bragging about this. There is no lack of beautiful words. 

“But when it comes to our actual emissions and our ecological footprints per capita – if we include our consumption, our imports as well as aviation and shipping – then it’s a whole other story.”

Nordic environmental impact

Thunberg cited data from WWF and the Global Footprint Network, which says people in Sweden live ‘as if we had about four planets’, adding that ‘roughly the same goes for the entire Nordic region’. 

She added that the Norwegian government recently gave a record number of permits to look for new oil and gas, with one newly opened oil and natural gas-field ‘expected to produce oil and natural gas for 50 years; oil and gas that would generate global CO2 emissions of 1,3 tonnes’.

“The gap between what the science says is needed to limit the increase of global temperature rise to below 1,5 or even 2 degrees – and politics that run the Nordic countries is gigantic. And there are still no signs whatsoever of the changes required…We belong to the countries that have the possibility to do the most. And yet our countries still basically do nothing” she added.

She concluded by saying that until Nordic countries start to act in accordance with what the science says is needed to limit the global temperature rise, she – and Fridays For Future in Sweden – would not accept the prize or accompanying cash.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.