Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg declined a major international environmental prize this month, saying the planet didn’t need “any more awards” while urging the Nordic region and her home country to stop “bragging” and take steps to further its climate aims.
“I want to thank the Nordic Council for this award. It is a huge honor,” Thunberg, who was awarded the Nordic Council Environment Prize in early October, wrote on social media Tuesday. “But 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 prize is awarded annually and comes with an award of about $52,000. The Nordic Council praised Thunberg, whose school strikes for climate action have become a global movement, “for breathing new life into the debate surrounding the environment and climate at a critical moment in world history.”
“Furthermore, she has inspired millions of people around the world to demand concrete action from our politicians,” the council wrote. “When she meets resistance and adults say that there’s no point in doing anything – the race has already been run, she says: ‘You’re never too small to make a difference.’ She has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
Thunberg was nominated by both Sweden and Norway for her environmental work, according to Agency France-Presse.
Thunberg has been traveling throughout North and South America over the past few months after arriving in New York via a carbon-neutral racing boat. The 16-year-old led a massive, global day of climate action in September that saw millions step out in protest. She’s also repeatedly chastised world leaders for failing to act to address the changing climate, telling those gathered at the United Nations climate summit last month that they had “stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
“I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean,” she said in an impassioned speech. “Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you!”
She echoed those thoughts on social media this week, saying the country had fallen dramatically behind its efforts to keep global warming in check, pointing specifically to her home country.
“In Sweden we live as if we had about 4 planets according to WWF and Global Footprint Network. And roughly the same goes for the entire Nordic region,” she wrote. “Until you start to act in accordance with what the science says is needed to limit the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees or even 2 degrees celsius, I — and Fridays For Future in Sweden — choose not to accept the Nordic Councils environmental award nor the prize money.”