Climate strike founder put up for award ahead of global strikes planned in more than 105 countries
— Greta Thunberg, the founder of the Youth Strike for Climate movement, has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize, just before the biggest day yet of global action.
Thunberg began a solo protest in Sweden in August but has since inspired students around the globe. Strikes are expected in 1,659 towns and cities in 105 countries on Friday, involving hundreds of thousands of young people.
“We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change it will be the cause of wars, conflict and refugees,” said Norwegian Socialist MP Freddy André Øvstegård. “Greta Thunberg has launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace.”
“[I am] honoured and very grateful for this nomination,” said Thunberg on Twitter. Tomorrow we #schoolstrike for our future. And we will continue to do so for as long as it takes.” She has already challenged leaders in person at the UN climate summit in late 2018 and at Davos in January. “Change is coming whether they like it or not,” she said.
National politicians and some university professors can nominate candidates for the Nobel peace prize, which will be awarded in December. There are 301 candidates for the 2019 prize: 223 individuals and 78 organisations.
In 2014, the peace prize was awarded to 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, “for the struggle … for the right of all children to education”. She survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012.
While some politicians have opposed the school strikes, many have supported them, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Ireland’s Leo Varadkar. The mayors of Paris, Milan, Sydney, Austin, Philadelphia, Portland, Oslo, Barcelona and Montreal added their backing on Thursday.
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at four school strikes in a week – video
“It is truly inspiring to see young people, led by brilliant young women, making their voices heard and demanding urgent climate action. They are absolutely correct that our actions today will determine their futures,” said Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris and chair of the C40 group of cities. “My message to young citizens is clear: it is our responsibility as adults and political leaders to learn from you and deliver the future you want.”
The strikes have also been supported by the former head of the Anglican church Rowan Williams and the head of Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo. “Children are often told they are ‘tomorrow’s leaders’. But if they wait until ‘tomorrow’ there may not be a future in which to lead,” said Naidoo. “Young people are putting their leaders to shame with the passion and determination they are showing to fight this crucial battle now.
by Damian Carrington | The Guardian