'Start Listening': Greta Thunberg Rejects Major Environmental Award

Oct 30, 2019

Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg has turned down a major environmental prize.

"It is a huge honor," Thunberg said of the Nordic Council Environment Prize. "But the climate movement does not need any more awards."

"What we need is for our politicians and the people in power to start listening to the current, best available science," she added.

The award Thunberg rejected came with prize money of 350,000 Danish kroner — about $52,000.

The Swedish activist, who is currently traveling in North America, was also a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize this year. That award ultimately went to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.

The Nordic Council, an organization aimed at promoting cooperation between Nordic governments, awarded Thunberg the prize for "breathing new life into the debate surrounding the environment and climate at a critical moment in world history."

"She has stubbornly and persuasively urged the world to listen to research and act on the basis of facts," the council said in a statement.

Council president Hans Wallmark said that the body respects both Thunberg's decision to turn down the award "and the reasons for this decision."

As for the $52,000 award, Wallmark said the council "will now think carefully about what to do with the prize money."

In a statement on Instagram explaining why she declined, Thunberg slammed the council's member countries for not taking firmer action on climate change.

"The Nordic countries have a great reputation around the world when it comes to climate and environmental issues," she said. "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."

Thunberg referenced a recent WWF and Global Footprint Network report that stated Swedes, and other EU residents, are depleting natural ecosystems far faster than they can renew.

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