16-year-old Greta Thunberg has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace prize in recognition of her international campaign to protect the environment.
Thunberg launched the Youth Strike for climate movement in Sweden, in August, but has since inspired students worldwide to protest.
Today, on March 15, young people and environmentalists are expected to strike in 1,659 towns and 105 countries.
“We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change, it will be the cause of wars, conflict and refugees,” said Norwegian Socialist MP Freddy André Øvstegård. “Greta Thunberg has launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace.”
If Thunberg wins the prize, she will be the youngest person to ever become a Nobel Laureate. Currently, Malala Yousafzai holds the title for the youngest Nobel Laureate after winning the Nobel Peace prize at age 17 in 2014.
“I am honored and very grateful for this nomination,” said Thunberg on Twitter. “We #schoolstrike for our future. And we will continue to do so for as long as it takes.”
The 16-year-old has already challenged leaders in person at the 2018 UN Climate Summit and at Davos in January. “Change is coming whether they like it or not,” she said.
Although some politicians have opposed the school strikes, many have supported them, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Ireland’s Leo Varadkar. The mayors of Paris, Milan, Sydney, Austin, Philadelphia, Portland, Oslo, Barcelona and Montreal also support the strikes.
“It is truly inspiring to see young people, led by brilliant young women, making their voices heard and demanding urgent climate action. They are absolutely correct that our actions today will determine their futures,” said Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris and chair of the C40 group of cities. “My message to young citizens is clear: it is our responsibility as adults and political leaders to learn from you and deliver the future you want.”
The strikes have also been supported by the former head of the Anglican church Rowan Williams and the head of Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo. “Children are often told they are ‘tomorrow’s leaders’. But if they wait until ‘tomorrow’ there may not be a future in which to lead,” said Naidoo. “Young people are putting their leaders to shame with the passion and determination they are showing to fight this crucial battle now.”