Teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg was awarded the 2019 Nordic Council Environment Prize, but she won’t be accepting it.
Thunberg said on Instagram on Tuesday that she received the award but declined to accept it because “the climate movement does not need any more awards.”
The 16-year-old also called on Nordic countries to take more climate action.
“The Nordic countries have a great reputation around the world when it comes to climate and environmental issues,” she said in a written message on Instagram. “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.”
Thunberg said it was a great honor to be recognized, but she will decline the award until Nordic countries take the action she sees as necessary to change the world. She said there is a large gap between what science says is necessary and the politics that run the Nordic countries, and she sees no signs of the changes required.
“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,” she wrote.
The prize money is about $52,000.
The theme for this year’s Nordic Council Environment Prize was “initiatives that promote sustainable consumption and production by doing more with less,” the organization says on its website.
Thunberg was nominated by Sweden and Norway for “breathing new life into the debate surrounding the environment and climate at a critical moment in world history.” They also said she has inspired millions of people around the world to demand action through FridaysForFuture, a movement she started in August 2018.
The Nordic Council confirmed in a news release Tuesday that she did not accept the award.
“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 news release said.