Climate activist Thunberg wins ‘alternative Nobel prize’
STOCKHOLM (dpa) — Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has been named as one of four winners of an award often called “the alternative Nobel prize.”
Thunberg was lauded “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts,” the Stockholm-based Right Livelihood Award Foundation said.
In August 2018, the 16-year-old began a “school strike” outside the Swedish parliament that inspired a youth-led movement that has staged climate strikes across the globe under the slogan Fridays for Future.
On Monday, Thunberg gave a speech at a U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York urging world leaders to act to mitgate climate change. “If you choose to fail us, we will never forgive you,” she said.
Commenting the award, Thunberg said: “It is not me who is the winner. I am part of a global movement of school children, youth and adults of all ages who have decided to act in defense of our living planet. I share this award with them.”
Thunberg was named along with a human rights activist from the Western Sahara region, a lawyer from China, and a leader and association that work for the rights of Brazil’s indigenous Yanomami people.
“With the 2019 Right Livelihood Award, we honor four practical visionaries whose leadership has empowered millions of people to defend their inalienable rights and to strive for a liveable future for all on planet Earth,” foundation director Ole von Uexkull said.
He added that “Thunberg is the powerful voice [of] a young generation that will have to bear the consequences of today’s political failure to stop climate change.”
Aminatou Haidar is the first winner from Western Sahara, the disputed territory claimed by Morocco since 1975.
Haidar has for over 30 years peacefully campaigned for Western Sahara’s independence. The jury cited “her steadfast non-violent action, despite imprisonment and torture, in pursuit of justice and self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.”
Haidar said the award was “a recognition of my non-violent struggle and the just cause of the Sahrawi people.”
Guo Jianmei, a lawyer from China, was lauded for “her pioneering and persistent work in securing women’s rights in China.”
Guo has helped thousands of disadvantaged people and women get access to justice. She has used the law to protect their rights as well as setting up legal networks offering legal advice free of charge, the award foundation said.
“This award recognizes and acknowledges the efforts of my team and me to uphold women’s rights and promote democracy and the rule of law in China, under difficult circumstances for the past 25 years,” she said.
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during a Blue Leaders breakfast briefing focused on the release of and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere In a Changing Climate in New York, Wednesday. Thunberg is among four people named as the winners of a Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel.”