Kids don’t get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for skipping school — with the exception of Greta Thunberg. The 16-year-old climate activist has been playing hooky every Friday since last August to protest outside Sweden’s parliament building.
On Friday, hundreds of thousands of students inspired by Thunberg are expected to walk out of class as part of the worldwide Youth Climate Strike.
“We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change it will be the cause of wars, conflict, and refugees,” Norwegian politician Freddy André Øvstegård told international news agency AFP. “Greta Thunberg has launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace.”
Thurnberg is among some 300 candidates for the 2019 prize, the Guardian reports. There’s a precedent for the Nobel Peace Prize going to a courageous teen who speaks truth to power: The 2014 prize was given to Malala Yousafzai, 17 years old at the time, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt and advocates for girls’ education.
Over the past half year, Thunberg has been taking world leaders to task over climate inaction with blunt, fiery speeches. Here are some of the best moments:
- “For way too long, the politicians and the people in power have gotten away with not doing anything to fight the climate crisis, but we will make sure that they will not get away with it any longer,” Thunberg told the crowd at a school strike in Antwerp, Belgium this month. “We are striking because we have done our homework and they have not.”
- Thunberg became the icon of the United Nations climate talks in Katowice, Poland, in December. Not that she was too impressed by them. “I expected it to be more action and less talking — it’s mostly just small-talking,” she said during the event. “This is an amazing opportunity. But if it continues the way it is now, we are never going to achieve anything.”
- At the end of the climate talks, Thunberg delivered a firecracker speech condemning inaction. “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you’re stealing their future in front of their very eyes,” she told the gathered leaders.
- The activist took another swipe at the global elite during a rousing speech in Davos, Switzerland, in January. “At places like Davos, people like to tell success stories,” Thunberg said at the World Economic Forum. “But their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag.” Ouch.
- Thunberg showed off her knack for metaphor, too. “Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around — we can still fix this,” she said in Davos. “I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.”