Why Greta Thunberg Doesn’t Deserve A Nobel
Written by Ella Whelan
Greta Thunberg – the stern 16-year-old voice and face of the recent school climate-strike movement – has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Thunberg first made headlines when she skipped school on 20 August last year in her hometown in Sweden to protest outside parliament, holding a homemade placard reading ‘skolstrejk för klimatet’ (school strike for climate).
Since then, she has inspired schoolkids across the world to ‘strike’, missing school to protest against what they argue is a climate crisis.
Thunberg says the prospect of global warming and a changing climate frightened her – and so she decided to speak out.
She has come to symbolize a new movement, with youngsters echoing her mantra: ‘Why should I go to school to study if there is no future?’
Politicians have celebrated her bravery, activists have saluted her conviction, and greens everywhere have kicked themselves for not doing something similar when they were in their teens.
Thunberg’s Nobel nomination has provoked some criticism. Not because of her age (after all, Malala Yousafzai won the award in 2014), but because of her lack of tangible achievements.
The founder of the Nobel prizes, Swedish businessman Alfred Nobel, left instructions in his will that the peace prize should be awarded to ‘the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses’.
It’s unclear that Thunberg meets that standard.
Then again, the Nobel has become less about the specific achievements of the winner and more about the message the award sends. U.S. President Barack Obama won it in 2009 after being in office for less than a year.
So it is with Thunberg – the committee seems to want to send a message about its support for climate issues and youth activism, rather than award her specific accomplishments.
But the admiration for this rather eccentric young woman’s protest also sends a rather worrying message about the current state of adult authority.
It is strange that teachers, politicians, and parents are cheering on children whose message is ‘I’m too scared to go to school’.
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