Greta Thunberg’s Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize

By Anna H.

When it publicly became known that Greta Thunberg, a young climate change activist, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, she soon became a person of interest. Thunberg, who currently resides in Stockholm, Sweden, is best known for her passionate speeches to the United Kingdom Parliament, United Nations, and the United States Congress about climate change. Her speeches have gone viral on social media and prompted many teenagers to start taking action related to climate change and global warming. 

At age fifteen, Thunberg began to spend her Fridays not at school but striking for climate change outside the Swedish Parliament. Her strikes quickly gained attention from people all across the world and she eventually sparked a set of school strikes occurring globally called “Fridays for Future,” some of which over 50,000 students participated in. In fact, her actions even encouraged many of Winsor’s Upper School students to participate in recent strikes on September 20, 2019 and December 6, 2019. At age sixteen, Thunberg would have been the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, but the award was instead given to candidate Abiy Ahmed, an Ethiopian politician who has worked hard towards achieving peace, particularly with a neighboring country of his, Eritrea.

Many have contemplated why she did not win this award, as the young climate activist has been a very prominent face of the climate change movement and has caused millions of people to take action. The answer may lie in the very reason she gained popularity in society in the first place: Climate activism. Analysts such as Henrik Urdal and Janne Haaland Matlary have argued that there is not a “linear relationship between climate change… and armed conflict.” In other words, advocating for climate change does not exclusively mean Thunberg is preventing conflict or working towards peace. This definition of a peacemaker is very particular and does not encompass much of the work being done to achieve peace, which may explain why Thunberg did not win the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, other climate change activists have received Nobel Peace Prizes in the past. Environmental leaders such as Al Gore, Wangari Maathai, and Norman Borlaug have all been awarded this coveted award for their advocacy towards climate change. 

In addition, Thunberg is only sixteen years old. If she had won, she would have been the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. This is another reason why she appeals so much to teenagers and motivates them to such an extent that would cause them to strike school for a day in order to raise awareness towards ending climate change. However, as much as her young age has encouraged young climate activists across the glove, being only sixteen years old has also caused many adults to see her as young and inexperienced.

Emilia J. ’23, says that “Greta Thunberg is providing an example for the rest of the world, one that we need to follow to save the planet [and] should be an inspiration for Winsor’s future.”

Greta Thunberg’s rapid popularity growth due to her passionate speeches to world leaders and politicians have encouraged many to join her in school strikes and advocate with her for the climate. Although she was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, she is the youngest Time Person of the Year and will continue to advocate for our Earth.