You Won’t Believe Why Greta Thunberg Just Rejected This Award

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock.
Greta Thunberg says she doesn’t need your awards. In a powerful Instagram post on Tuesday, the 16-year-old climate activist, who was granted the Nordic Council’s 2019 environmental award, explained why she declined to accept the prize. The council awarded Thunberg a sum of 500,000 Swedish krona (roughly $51,000) as a tribute to her work.
Instead, she blasted the Nordic Council for the ironic and hypocritical nature of the award. In her post, Thunberg recited facts about the Nordic region’s huge ecological footprint and lack of constructive change with regards to dramatic environmental degradation. “The climate movement does not need any more awards. What we need is for our politicians and the people in power to start to listen to the current, best available science,” Thunberg wrote in her post. “In Sweden we live as if we had about 4 planets.” 
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According to the Global Footprint Network (as cited in Thunberg’s post), Sweden alone produces one of the worst global consumption footprints. Thunberg, a native of Sweden, then addressed Nordic plans to continue production of oil and gas, and explained how those efforts go against anything the environmental award might represent. Finally, she cited the Paris Agreement, which is signed by all Nordic countries, demanding that people in a position to act as leaders for climate change should actively do so.
"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 Council's environmental award," she wrote.
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I have received the Nordic Council’s environmental award 2019. I have decided to decline this prize. Here’s why: “I am currently traveling through California and therefore not able to be present with you today. I want to thank the Nordic Council for this award. It is a huge honour. 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 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. There is no lack of beautiful words. 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. 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. In Norway for instance, the government recently gave a record number of permits to look for new oil and gas. The newly opened oil and natural gas-field, ”Johan Sverdrup” is expected to produce oil and natural gas for 50 years; oil and gas that would generate global CO2 emissions of 1,3 tonnes. The gap between what the science says is needed to limit the increase of global temperature rise to below 1,5 or even 2 degrees - and politics that run the Nordic countries is gigantic. And there are still no signs whatsoever of the changes required. The Paris Agreement, which all of the Nordic countries have signed, is based on the aspect of equity, which means that richer countries must lead the way. We belong to the countries that have the possibility to do the most. And yet our countries still basically do nothing. So 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 of 500 000 Swedish kronor. Best wishes Greta Thunberg”

A post shared by Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg) on

This sentiment comes just weeks after Thunberg boldly declared at the United Nations Climate Action Summit that “we will not let you get away with this.” Thunberg’s fight for climate change has emboldened young people around the world in her Fridays for Future weekly march. Since August 2018, she’s congregated international youth in a series of school walk-outs to protest climate change, hoping to enact real and meaningful policy shifts across the globe. 
“Right here, right now, is where we draw the line. The world is waking up, and change is coming whether you like it or not,” Thunberg exclaimed to the U.N.
The Fridays for Future climate justice protests now span 215 countries, over 6,000 cities, and 8.6 million protestors around the world. In December she will make her way to Chile for the U.N. climate conference, reciting yet again why it’s so crucial to protect our planet.
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