SHARE
COPY LINK

ENVIRONMENT

Swedish environmentalist Thunberg nominated for French freedom prize

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist who inspired a global movement for school children concerned about climate change, has been nominated for a freedom prize in the region of Normandy in northern France.

Swedish environmentalist Thunberg nominated for French freedom prize
Students in Lausanne, Switzerland hold up a poster showing Greta Thunberg during their climate strike. Photo: AP/Jean-Christophe Bott/TT

The Swedish teenager, whose school strike for climate inspired demonstrations in 120 countries, is one of three finalists for the newly-founded Prix Liberté.

Thunberg was nominated along with Saudi blogger and dissident Raif Badawi, who has been in prison in Saudi Arabia since 2012; and photojournalist Lu Guang, who was detained by Chinese authorities in 2018.

The activist, who spoke to The Local last year when her school strike was in its infancy, has already been nominated for Norway’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Six months ago, then a 15-year-old, she camped outside Sweden's parliament next to a hand-written sign pronouncing “SCHOOL STRIKE FOR CLIMATE”: a statement that moved peers across the world to engage in the climate movement.

In a tweet, Thunberg wrote that she was ‘honoured” to be nominated for the Normandy prize.

The Freedom Prize “gives young people all over the world the opportunity to choose an exemplary public figure or organisation, committed to the fight for freedom,” the Normandy region wrote on its website, citing those who risked their lives for freedom “when they landed on the Normandy beaches” on June 6th, 1944 as inspiration for the new award.

Once the winner has been chosen, the Prix Liberté award ceremony will be held in Normandy in June.

READ ALSO: How Greta Thunberg's school strike became a global climate movement

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ALMEDALEN 2022

Green Party leader: ‘Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament’

Per Bolund, joint leader of Sweden's Green party, spoke for thirteen and a half minutes at Almedalen before he mentioned the environment, climate, or fossil fuels, in a speech that began by dwelling on healthcare, women's rights, and welfare, before returning to the party's core issue.

Green Party leader: 'Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament'

After an introduction by his joint leader Märta Stenevi, Bolund declared that his party was going into the election campaign on a promise “to further strengthen welfare, with more staff and better working conditions in healthcare, and school without profit-making, where the money goes to the pupils and not to dividends for shareholders”. 

Only then did he mention the party’s efforts when in government to “build the world’s first fossil-free welfare state”. 

“We know that if we want welfare to work in the future, we must have an answer to our time’s biggest crisis: the threat to the environment and the climate,” he said.

“We know that there is no welfare on a dead planet. We need to take our society into a new time, where we end our dependency on oil, meet the threat to the climate, and build a better welfare state within nature’s boundaries, what we call a new, green folkhem [people’s home].” 

He presented green policies as something that makes cities more liveable, with the new sommargågator — streets pedestrianised in the summer — showing how much more pleasant a life less dependent on cars might be.  

He then said his party wanted Sweden to invest 100 billion kronor a year on speeding up the green transition, to make Sweden fossil fuel-free by 2030. 

“We talk about the climate threat because it’s humanity’s biggest challenge, our biggest crisis,” he said. “And because we don’t have much time.” 

In the second half of his speech, however, Bolund used more traditional green party rhetoric, accusing the other political parties in Sweden of always putting off necessary green measures, because they do not seem urgent now, like a middle-aged person forgetting to exercise. 

“We know that we need to cut emissions radically if we are even going to have a chance of meeting our climate goal, but for all the other parties there’s always a reason to delay,” he said. 

“We are now seeing the curtain go up on the backlash in climate politics in Sweden. All the parties have now chosen to slash the biofuels blending mandate which means that we reduce emissions from petrol and diesel step for step, so you automatically fill your tank in a greener way. Just the government’s decision to pause the  reduction mandate will increase emissions by a million tonnes next year.” 

The right-wing parties, he warned, were also in this election running a relentless campaign against the green party. 

“The rightwing parties seem to have given up trying to win the election on their own policies,” he said. “Trying to systematically push out of parliament seems to be their way of trying to take power. And they don’t seem above any means. Slander campaigns, lies, and false information have become every day in Swedish right-wing politics.” 

He ended the speech with an upbeat note. 

“A better, more sustainable world is possible. There is a future to long for. If you give us a chance then that future is much closer than you think!”

Read the speech here in Swedish and here in (Google Translated) English. 

SHOW COMMENTS