“what we need is for our rulers and politicians to listen to the research.”
In October, sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was selected to receive the Nordic Council Environmental Prize. The prestigious award is given once a year to a Nordic person, company, or organization that shows great initiative on the environment’s behalf. Winning it is an honor, filled with deep sentiment and 350,000 Danish kroner ($52,000). Greta Thunberg, however, is not interested in making money off of her cause, and she is way past sentiment.
In an Instagram post made earlier this week (see embed below), Thunberg expressed her gratitude for being offered the award, and she applauded the Nordic countries for their environmental ingenuities so far. However, she declined to accept the Council Prize, stating that “the climate movement doesn’t need awards” and that the governments handing them out should show their support by listening to science and creating more effective environmental policies.
She specifically called out the Nordic countries for the fact that despite their efforts, they could still be doing more to protect the environment. Bitingly, she posted, “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.”
Calling out the Richest Countries to do the most – and Lead the Way to Solutions
Thunberg’s declination to accept the award and its accompanying money is emblematic of her message—less rhetoric, more action. Instead of focusing on symbols, Greta campaigns for concrete change, meeting with world leaders to push for policies that directly combat the climate crisis.
During the time that she could have been accepting the award, Greta was doing what she does best: working restlessly on the other side of the globe. While two other climate activists spoke on Thunberg’s behalf at the Nordic ceremony, the young activist herself was in California, addressing the Golden State in the wake of its wildfires.
Thunberg has been a leading climate activist for over a year now. She dropped out of school to pursue this career on a global scale, inspiring many people to follow in her footsteps and realize how urgent of an issue climate change really is. We don’t know what the future holds for Miss Thunberg, but all indications are that we can expect it to be propitious, and will root for her no matter how many awards she receives or refuses.
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