Greta Thunberg; credit Anders Hellberg

Greta Thunberg announced 2019 Right Livelihood Laureate

Press releases 25.09.2019

The Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Climate activist Greta Thunberg from Sweden is one of the 2019 Laureates, the Right Livelihood Foundation announced today in Stockholm, Sweden.

Greta Thunberg is recognised by the international jury “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts”.

Upon receiving the news, Greta Thunberg commented:

“I’m deeply grateful for being one of the recipients of this great honour. 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 indefence of our living planet. I share this award with them. The Right Livelihood Award is a huge recognition for Fridays For Future and the climate strike movement. Thank you so very much!”

The 2019 Right Livelihood Award Laureates were announced during a press conference at the International Press Centre at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The jury honours four Laureates who will each receive 1 million SEK (94,000 EUR). The prize money is designated to support to support the Laureates’ work, it is not for personal use.

The other 2019 Laureates are human rights defender Aminatou Haidar (Western Sahara), lawyer Guo Jianmei (China), and indigenous leader Davi Kopenawa who jointly receives the award with the Hutukara Yanomami Association (Brazil). The international jury considered 142 nominations from 59 countries, after an open nomination process.

Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director of the Right Livelihood Foundation, commented:“With the Award to Greta Thunberg, we honour one of the most effective civil society leaders of our time and celebrate the power of every human being to make a difference.”

Greta Thunberg is the powerful voice of a young generation that will have to bear the consequences of today’s political failure to stop climate change. Her resolve to not put up with the looming climate disaster has inspired millions of peers to also raise their voices and demand immediate climate action.

In August 2018, with the Swedish Parliamentary election only weeks away, 15-year old Greta Thunberg saw with despair how politicians lacked strategies to combat climate change – if they even cared at all about the issue. Knowing that the life of present and future generations depend on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, Thunberg took matters in her own hands. She went on “school strike for climate” outside the Swedish Parliament.

The initiative was picked up widely both online and in the media, and young activists joined Thunberg outside the Parliament building. Others organised school strikes elsewhere. The movement #FridaysForFuture was born and millions of people – young and old – have taken to the streets since.

Driven by her scientific understanding of the climate crisis and the insufficient response of politics and society to the problem, it became Thunberg’s mission to promote action against climate change. She 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.

Thunberg continues to tirelessly convey her message: acknowledge the facts, realisethe 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. Many people before Thunberg have tried to convey the urgency of immediate climate action. No one has been more successful. Her uncompromising way to speak truth to power resonates with the public. Greta Thunberg has managed to get the climate crisis not only on the cover page of newspapers but also on top of people’s minds.

The Laureates will receive their prizes at the 2019 Right Livelihood Award Celebration in Stockholm on 4 December. As the Award celebrates 40 years, the public is for the first time ever invited to participate in its presentation. Edward Snowden, who received the Right Livelihood Award in 2014, will join the celebration via link from Moscow and the artists José González and Ane Brun will perform at the event. Tickets for the Award Celebration are available via Cirkus.se

Media contacts

Emoke Bebiak

English, French & International Media

E-mail: emoke.bebiak@rightlivelihood.org
Phone: +41 (0)78 333 84 84

Nayla Azzinnari

Spanish Media

E-mail: nayla@rightlivelihood.org
Phone: +54 9 11 5460 9860

Nina Tesenfitz

German Media

E-mail: presse@rightlivelihood.org
Phone: +49 (0)170 5763 663

Sydney Nelson

Swedish Media

E-mail: sydney.nelson@rightlivelihood.org
Phone: +46 (0)73 043 13 01