Climate Kid Greta Thunberg Shames Grown-Ups Again: Rejects $52K Environmental Award

Swedish environment activist Greta Thunberg (C), 16, speaks during a "FridaysForFuture" climate protest at Civic Center Park in Denver, Colorado, on October 11, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday turned down a $52,000 environmental prize from the Nordic Council, once again rejecting adult efforts to recognize her for starting the Fridays for Future school walkouts that have spread around the globe.

“The climate doesn’t need any more prizes,” Thunberg said in a statement delivered to the council in Copenhagen through two other young activist siblings, Sofia and Isabella Axelsson.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that the 16-year-old is skipping much more than Fridays from her high school education as she continues her travels around the United States and Canada where she has joined “climate strike” protests. 

AP reported that Thunberg, who is currently in California, has a history of rejecting awards, including the latest from the council in her homeland region that hands them out every year to youth to recognize their work in the arts and for the environment:

It was not the first prize that the climate activist has won or been nominated for.

Three Norwegian lawmakers nominated [Thunberg] for the Nobel Peace Prize this year because they believe “the massive movement Greta has set in motion is a very important peace contribution.”

Last year, about three months into her school climate strike campaign, Thunberg declined another award — the Children’s Climate Prize, which is awarded by a Swedish electricity company — because many of the finalists had to fly to Stockholm for the ceremony.

Thunberg thanked the council in the statement, calling it a “huge honor” but said “politicians and the people in power” need to listen to science and take action, according to a BBC report: 

In an Instagram post explaining her decision to turn down the prize money of 500,000 kronor (£40,000; €46,000), Ms Thunberg said: “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,” Thunberg said. “There is no lack of beautiful words.”

Thunberg added that the energy consumption in the Nordic region of the world tells “a whole other story.”

In the post she cited a report from from World Wide Fund for Nature and the Global Footprint Network, which stated that Sweden and most of the Nordic region “lives as if the world has the resources of four planets.”

“We belong to the countries that have the possibility to do the most,” Thunberg said. “And yet our countries still basically do nothing.”

“The Nordic Council encourages co-operation between parliaments in countries including Denmark, Finland and Ms Thunberg’s home country Sweden,” the BBC reported.

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