Greta Thunberg declines Nordic Council Environment Prize

29.10.19 | News
Greta Thurnberg
Vincent Isore/Scanpix
Greta Thunberg has been awarded the 2019 Nordic Council Environment Prize, but has chosen not to accept it in protest at a lack of climate action.

The prize was presented by Swedish environmental activist Noura Berrouba to Isabelle Axelsson and Sophia Axelsson of Fridays For Future, representing Greta at the awards ceremony which was broadcast live from the Stockholm Concert Hall on Tuesday evening. Together they passed on Greta's message, which included the statement that the environment doesn't need any more prizes.


The movement

FridaysForFuture is a movement started by Greta in August 2018 when she started a three-week school strike to sit outside the Swedish parliament and protest against the lack of climate action from politicians.

Greta is currently traveling on the American continent, and plans to attend UN climate negotiations in Chile in December.

The jury said:

The theme for this year’s prize was “initiatives that promote sustainable consumption and production by doing more with less”. Greta Thunberg was nominated by Sweden and Norway.

Here’s how the jury justifies Greta’s win: The 2019 Nordic Council Environment Prize goes to Greta Thunberg 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.

Since her first school strike, Greta has not only created a global climate movement, but also challenged our consumption patterns and highlighted the need for political action that reduces the consumption of fossil fuels and resource-intensive goods and services. Through her own personal and concrete guidance, Greta has made increasing numbers of people aware of the issue in a way that seems to have already started to affect our consumption and travel habits, which is in line with UN sustainable development goal number 12: “Sustainable consumption and production”, which is also the theme of this year’s Nordic Council Environment Prize.

Like none before her, in a very short space of time Greta has succeeded in raising awareness of climate and environmental issues in the Nordic countries and the rest of the world. She has stubbornly and persuasively urged the world to listen to research and act on the basis of facts. Her influence has become so extensive that there is now talk of a global “Greta Thunberg effect”.

Greta is being heard by world leaders and decision-makers, and is engaging children and young people in the Nordic countries, Europe, and many other parts of the world. By urging politicians to not only talk about new green jobs, but also to take the climate and environmental crisis seriously, she is encouraging a more balanced political debate.

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.

About the Nordic Council prizes

The Nordic Council awards five prizes each year – for literature, film, music, the environment, and children’s and young people’s literature.  Each prize of DKK 350,000 is awarded at a gala event during the annual Session of the Nordic Council.