Opinion: This year’s Nobel Peace Prize should have gone to Greta Thunberg

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes the stage during the Fridays for Future global climate strike in Berlin (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, brave campaign journalists, won the Nobel Prize of Peace this year. Many congratulations to them. They are worthy winners of the award. However, I can’t help but think that the Nobel committee has missed a historic opportunity.

On November 1, what is possibly the most important conference in the world is about to begin in Glasgow. The COP26 it will decide whether the world’s “leaders” are serious about avoiding ecology-driven civilizational collapse. The Nobel Prize could have been awarded this year to some of those who have been working most brilliantly to stabilize our climate.

The most obvious candidate, who was nominated, is Greta thunberg. Let’s listen to her for a moment: “We children don’t usually do what you tell us to do. We do what you do. And since you adults don’t care about my future, neither will I. My name is Greta and I am in the 9th grade. And I’m on a school strike for the weather until Election Day. “

The date was August 20, 2018 and with this tweet, 15-year-old Greta launched what would become a global movement, catapulting her to the center of the fight to save people and the planet. Election day came and went and still, three years later, she continues her strike. Only now she is no longer alone.

Thanks to the “Greta effect”, it has not only awakened other young people to the situation on the planet. He has also used his growing platform to challenge politicians with his direct and blunt speeches.

I met her in October 2018 when she came to London to support the launch of Extinction Rebellion (XR). I had the honor of praising her after her speech, as we took the first XR action, blocking vehicle access to parliament.

I met her again at the great protest of Extinction Rebellion April 2019 in London, when I had the opportunity to ask him publicly if he supported XR, and he responded with his usual frankness, with a single word: “Yes.” The last time I saw her was when we were together in Davos in January 2020, at the World Economic Forum. Since then, unfortunately, Covid-19 has made travel and in-person events difficult.

Now that this has started to change, it is important that we return to citizen public action whenever possible. The climate is not waiting, but continues to deteriorate. I hope to see Greta again at the climate conference in Glasgow in November.

In my not humble opinion, he is a world historical figure at the level of the Pankhursts and Martin Luther King. His wit, his deep intelligence, his infinite courage when it comes to telling the truth and his willingness to show the emotional wear of the growing climate emergency and ecological in herself and in so many other children and young people, they are changing the world in real time.

Greta was first nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 and again in 2020 and once again this year. But there is still no celebration.

Greta, who was Time Magazine’s youngest person of the year, has proven time and again that she has the strength of character to lead the world against the greatest challenge we will ever face. She embarrasses our so-called elected leaders.

And while his courage and insight are to be celebrated, the rest of us should also feel some shame. We should be ashamed to have come to this. Young people like her have to devote their time and energy to doing nothing less than begging for their lives.

It is a real shame that those who decide the Nobel Peace Prize have missed the opportunity to make a massive call for real climate action, at this vital moment. There were many worthy candidates for this year’s award, including winners, but unless we sufficiently reward the truth about climate, climate justice, and climate action, everything else, including all other worthy causes, will disappear. This includes our children’s own future.

Professor Rupert Read teaches at the University of East Anglia. He has been a spokesperson and strategist for Extinction Rebellion. Her book Parents for a Future – How Loving Our Children Can Prevent Climate Collapse (Parents for a Future: How Loving Our Children Can Avoid Climate Breakdown) was partly inspired by Greta Thunberg

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Opinion: This year’s Nobel Peace Prize should have gone to Greta Thunberg