Climate activist Greta Thunberg wins ‘Alternative Nobel’

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg addresses the United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters on Sept. 23.
“You are failing us,” environmental activist Greta Thunberg told the United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters Sept. 23.
(Associated Press)

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is among four people who have won a Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel.”

The prize foundation said Wednesday that Thunberg is being recognized “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts.”

The foundation said that the 16-year-old, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, “personifies the notion that everyone has the power to create change. Her example has inspired and empowered people from all walks of life to demand political action.”


Created in 1980, the annual Right Livelihood Award honors efforts that the prize founder, Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, felt were being ignored by the Nobel prizes.

The four winners will each receive $103,000.

The foundation also gave its 2019 award to Davi Kopenawa and the Hutukara Yanomami Assn., representing indigenous people in Brazil, for protecting the Amazon forest and its people; Moroccan activist Aminatou Haidar “for her steadfast nonviolent action” for Western Sahara; and Chinese lawyer Guo Jianmei for her work for women’s rights in China.

Trump had sarcastically shared a video of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg’s fiery speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit blasting leaders for their inaction.

Ole von Uexkull, the foundation’s executive director and nephew of the founder, said, “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.”

An awards ceremony is planned in Stockholm on Dec. 4, six days before the Nobel prizes are handed out.

Thunberg’s campaign began on Aug. 20, 2018, when she held solitary demonstrations outside Sweden’s parliament, skipping classes once a week to protest climate change. Her solo protest has inspired millions across the world to stage protests urging leaders to tackle global warming.


The Swedish award committee said Thunberg “tirelessly conveys her message: acknowledge the facts, realize the urgency of the climate crisis and act accordingly. She speaks at high-level conferences, meets world leaders, and gives guidance to a growing global movement.”

Thunberg, who was called “a powerful voice of a young generation that will have to bear the consequences of today’s political failure to stop climate change,” is currently in New York, where she attended a U.N. climate conference.

On Monday, Thunberg scolded the audience at the U.N. Climate Action Summit, repeatedly saying “How dare you.” Thunberg said: “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money. You are failing us.”