Greta Thunberg Turns Down Environmental Prize and Demands Climate Action Instead

"It is a huge honour. But the climate movement does not need any more awards."
greta thunberg award
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Greta Thunberg doesn’t need your fancy awards. The Swedish teen climate activist needs you to, you know, actually do something.

That was Thunberg’s message Tuesday when she declined an environmental prize from the Nordic Council, an inter-parliamentary body composed of representatives from Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and Sweden. Until the nations started doing what science says is necessary to actually curtail the climate crisis, Thunberg says, she doesn’t want their prize or the roughly $51,000 that comes with it.


Other teen activists appeared in her stead, while Thunberg was traveling through California. But she put out a statement explaining why, exactly, she was turning down the prize.

READ: Greta Thunberg wants world leaders to pay attention to this dire report on the oceans

“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,” she wrote. “What we need is for our politicians and the people in power to start to listen to the current, best available science.”

Thunberg went on to criticize the very countries that wanted to celebrate her, noting that while the Nordic nations have the reputation for being environmentally conscious, they don’t always live up to that image.

READ: Greta Thunberg is scaring the hell out of Fox News

“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,” the 16-year-old activist said. “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.”

Citing a report from WWF and the Global Footprint Network, Thunberg pointed out her home country of Sweden lived as if the world had the resources of four Earths.

Thunberg, the organizing force behind the Fridays For Future climate protests, is relentless and has proven willing to go after powerful institutions. She delivered a powerful speech at the United Nations demanding climate action, and has roasted the hell out of members of Congress who claim the U.S. isn’t responsible for climate change.

Cover: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks to several thousand people at a climate strike rally Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in Denver. The rally was staged in Denver's Civic Center Park. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)