Greta Thunberg, Climate, UN
Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen environmental activist, was named a 2019 Right Livelihood Award Laureate on Wednesday. (Photo credit: Anders Hellberg/The Right Livelihood Foundation)

Greta Thunberg, Teen Climate and Environmental Activist, Wins ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’

Greta Thunberg, the teen climate and environmental activist from Sweden, took centerstage as the United Nations General Assembly got underway this week.

And after giving an impassioned speech at the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday, Thunberg, 16, was recognized as one of four winners of the 2019 Right Livelihood Award, known as the “alternative Nobel Prize,” during an announcement Wednesday at the International Press Centre at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

“I’m deeply grateful for being one of the recipients of this great honor,” Thunberg said in a statement. “But of course, whenever I receive an award, 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.”

The award winners will receive $1 million Swedish Krona, or $103,000, and will be recognized at an official ceremony Dec. 4.

Thunberg arrived in the United States late last month after her two-week trek by sailboat — an emissions-free way to travel across the Atlantic Ocean — to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday.

“I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean,” she said in Monday’s speech. “Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.

“And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.”

Shortly after her speech, Thunberg, along with 15 other children, filed a complaint with the UN under the Convention on Rights of the Child, alleging that five of the world’s largest economies — Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey — have violated their human rights by not taking sufficient action to combat the climate crisis.

Related Story: Dozens of Climate Activists Arrested After Shutting Down D.C. Streets

President Donald Trump mocked the teen Monday evening by retweeting a video of her speech, saying: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

By Tuesday morning, Thunberg, who has been vocal about having Asperger’s, had updated her Twitter bio to “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”

As of Thursday morning, her bio read: “16 year old climate and environmental activist with Asperger’s Join the global climate strikes on September 27th! #fridaysforfuture”

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