The Speaker
Friday, 14 June 2024 – 10:53

16-year-old climate activist, Greta Thunberg, nominated for Nobel peace prize

Greta Thunberg, the schoolgirl who staged solo climate protests and has since inspired a global movement in fighting climate change, has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel peace prize.

She is one of 301 candidates of this year’s prize, in which 223 are also individuals- as well as 78 organisations.

The Nobel prize was established by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor and business man, through his will after he died in 1895. The first Nobel peace prize was awarded in 1901, to Jean Henry Dunant (founder of the Red Cross) and Frederic Passy (scientist, politician and peace activist).

Thunberg would be the youngest recipient if she were to win since Malala Yousafzai, who won the prize when she was 17.

Greta took to twitter to say she was “Honoured and very grateful for this nomination”.

Her nomination was proposed by three Norwegian MP’s.

Freddy Andrew Ovstegard, Norwegian Socialist MP, said: “We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change, it will be the cause of wars, conflict and refugees”. Adding that she has “launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace”.

Greta was the pioneer of the #FridaysForFuture movement, in which she has now protested every Friday for 30 weeks to make a stand against global inaction to combat climate change.

The movement has now spread globally, with over 1.4 million people estimated to have been on strike yesterday. Strikes were seen in 125 countries, in all continents.

A stark contrast to her life just a year ago, then she was just another Swedish student and a time which she describes when “Nothing really was happening in my life”. 

She describes herself as always having been “that girl in the back who doesn’t say anything.” In which she believed she “couldn’t make a difference because I was too small.”

She is the daughter of Malena Ernman, a Swedish opera singer, and Svante Thunberg, an actor and author.

She was diagnosed with Asperger’s 4 years ago but has used this as a motivating force. On this subject, she has said: “I overthink. Some people can just let things go, but I can’t, especially if there’s something that worries me or makes me sad.” She also said, “It’s nothing that I want to change about me.”

Learning about climate change at the age of eight, Greta was shocked in how the topic was not being taken seriously. She said this led her to keep “thinking about it and…wondered if [she was] going to have a future.”

Eventually she realised that she could make a difference, by trying to spread the message about the issue. She managed to persuade her mother to give up flying, ultimately affecting her career, and her father to adopt a vegetarian diet.

“There was no hint of this in her childhood. It’s unbelievable. If this can happen, anything can happen”, Svante Thunberg said.

Greta has said the first women to inspire her was Rosa Parks, Thunberg explained “I learned she was an introvert, and I’m also an introvert” and Parks showed her how “one person can make such a huge difference.” 

Since the rise in attention from the increasingly popular climate strikes, she has spoken at the UN Climate Talks, in Poland and at the World Economic Forum, in Davos.

She told delegates at the World Economic Forum: “I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic… and act as if the house is on fire.”

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