Greta Thunberg is the recipient of an award for her work in environmental activism. The 17-year-old activist quickly announced that she would donate all €1 million of her prize money to climate charities.
Thunberg won the inaugural Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity, an annual award given by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The Portuguese institution supports promoting the arts, science, and education. Its Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity recognizes groups and individuals who have made positive impacts in helping mitigate climate change.
‘I’m extremely honoured to receive the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity,” Thunberg said in a statement. All of the prize money will go to organizations that are “fighting for a sustainable world, defending nature, and supporting people already facing the worst impacts of the climate and ecological crisis—particularly those living in the Global South.”
The Swedish vegan activist will donate the first €100,000 of the prize money to SOS Amazonia, a campaign led by the Brazilian chapter of Fridays for Future. Thunberg will also donate €100,000 to the Stop Ecocide Foundation. The Netherlands-based charity aims to make mass destruction of nature an international crime.
I’m extremely honoured to receive the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity. We’re in a climate emergency, and my foundation will as quickly as possible donate all the prize money of 1 million Euros to support … ->
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) July 20, 2020
‘Tenacious Struggle to Alter a Status Quo’
Thunberg’s foundation, the Greta Thunberg Foundation, will make the donations. She launched the nonprofit earlier this year after winning the Right Livelihood Award last December. The Swedish award is considered by many to be an alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize, which the teenage activist was nominated for in 2019. The goal of Thunberg’s foundation is “is to promote ecological and social sustainability, as well as mental health.”
Jorge Sampaio, Chair of the Grand Jury of the Prize said Thunberg mobilized younger generations to take up climate activism. Additionally, he praised “her tenacious struggle to alter a status quo that persists.” He added that it “makes her one of the most remarkable figures of our days.”
Last week, Thunberg and three other climate activists coauthored an open letter to the European Union calling on leaders to “face the climate emergency.” It was signed by thousands of individuals, including activist Malala Yousafzai, Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Jameela Jamil, and singer Billie Eilish.