By: Stella Pagkas, Social Media Manager
After gaining international recognition for skipping school to protest inaction against climate change, sixteen-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Last August, Thunberg sat outside the Swedish parliament building every day for two weeks with a sign that read “skolstrejk för klimatet,” or “school strike for the climate.” She passed out leaflets with the phrase, “I am doing this because you are shーtting on my future” and refused to return to school until the Swedish general election on September 9, 2018 to draw attention to the issue. Thunberg demanded that the government reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement following a series of human-caused natural disasters in Sweden.
After the general election, Greta continued to strike on Fridays, and her movement became an international sensation. Following Thunberg’s example, tens of thousands of students from all over the world have begun striking for climate change on Fridays. These strikes have gained particular traction in Australia, Belgium, and the Netherlands, though the movement has spread as far as the United States, Japan, and Uganda.
Following her explosive movement, Greta has become an influential voice in the fight to end climate change. In November 2018, Thunberg spoke at TEDxStockholm, and in December she addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Convention.
In her speech, which would later go viral, she stated, “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself.”
In March 2019, Thunberg received her greatest recognition yet. Three Norwegian Members of Parliament nominated the sixteen-year-old for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. One of the MPs, Freddy André Øvstegård, stated, “The massive movement Greta has set in motion is a very important peace contribution.” The prize is not awarded until December, but Greta tweeted that she is “honoured and very grateful for this nomination.”