Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Greta Thunberg Awarded Normandy's First 'Freedom Prize'

Popular
Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg with Charles Norman Shay, a Native American D-Day Veteran and a sponsor of the Freedom Award, during the 2019 Freedom Award Ceremony, in Abbaye-aux-Dames, Caen, France, on Sunday, July 21, 2019. Artur Widak / NurPhoto / Getty Images)

By Andrea Germanos

Climate activist Greta Thunberg on Sunday urged people to recognize "the link between climate and ecological emergency and mass migration, famine, and war" as she was given the first "Freedom Prize" from France's Normandy region for her ongoing school strikes for climate and role in catalyzing the Fridays for future climate movement.


The 16-year-old received the award before a crowd of roughly 2,000 people in the city of Caen. She shared the stage with D-Day veterans and prize sponsors Léon Gautier of France et Charles Norman Shay of the U.S.

"I think the least we can do to honor them," said Thunberg, "is to stop destroying that same world that Charles, Leon, and their friends and colleagues fought so hard to save."

Thunberg spent the day before the award ceremony with Shay:

On Twitter, Thunberg also highlighted some of Shay's remarks during Sunday's ceremony, calling them "the most powerful words on the climate and ecological emergency I've ever heard."

"All these many damages on Mother Nature make me sad," said Shay. "As a soldier I fought for freedom to liberate Europe [and the] world [from] Nazism 75 yeas ago, but this is no sense if Mother Nature is deeply wounded, and if our civilization collapses due to inappropriate human behaviors."

Agence France-Presse reported on Thunberg's remarks at the ceremony:

"This is a silent war going on. We are currently on track for a world that could displace billions of people from their homes, taking away even the most basic living conditions from countless people, making areas of the world uninhabitable from some part of the year.
"The fact that this will create huge conflicts and unspoken suffering is far from secret."
"And yet the link between climate and ecological emergency and mass migration, famine, and war is still not clear to many people. This must change."

Thunberg beat out two other finalists, Saudi blogger and dissident Raif Badawi and Chinese photojournalist Lu Guang, to become the winner.

The Freedom Prize website offers this background of the new award:

Focused on the meaning and values of the Allied landings, the Freedom Prize gives young people all over the world the opportunity to choose an exemplary person or organization, committed to the fight for freedom. Just like those who risked their lives when they landed on the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944.

On 6 June 1944, it was in the name of the ideal of freedom that 130,000 soldiers, including a significant number of young volunteers, risked their lives and that several thousand died on these unfamiliar beaches. 17 nations were involved in Operation Overlord to open up "Liberty Road" on which nearly 3 million soldiers traveled in their bid to save the world from the barbarity of the Nazis. The Allied landings remind us that freedom is a universal demand.

Today, many situations around the world testify to its fragility. The Freedom Prize pays homage to all those who fought and continue to fight for this ideal.

Thunberg, responding to a recent question from one of the readers of the UK's Observer, made clear that her commitment to the fight for urgent climate action is unwavering.

"We must never give up," she said. "I have made up my mind and decided to never, ever give up."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Mike Pence and Donald Trump hold a press conference about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

By John R. Platt

Both eyes open. Look for potential threats coming from all sides. Be prepared to change course at a moment's notice.

Read More Show Less
Looking across the Houston Ship Canal at the ExxonMobil Refinery, Baytown, Texas. Roy Luck, CC BY 2.0

By Nick Cunningham

A growing number of refineries around the world are either curtailing operations or shutting down entirely as the oil market collapses.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Traffic moves across the Brooklyn Bridge on Aug. 2, 2018 in New York City. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

The Trump administration is expected to unveil its final replacement of Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks Tuesday in a move likely to pump nearly a billion more tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the lifetime of those less-efficient vehicles.

Read More Show Less
U.S. President Donald Trump listens as Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks in the Rose Garden for the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 29 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Just over a month after proclaiming that the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. would soon "be down to close to zero," President Donald Trump said during a press briefing on the White House lawn Sunday that limiting U.S. deaths from the pandemic to between 100,000 and 200,000 people would mean his administration and the country as a whole did "a very good job."

Read More Show Less
Dicamba is having a devastating impact in Arkansas and neighboring states. A farmer in Mississippi County, Arkansas looks at rows of soybean plants affected by dicamba. The Washington Post / Getty Images

Documents unearthed in a lawsuit brought by a Missouri farmer who claimed that Monsanto and German chemical maker BASF's dicamba herbicide ruined his peach orchard revealed that the two companies knew their new agricultural seed and chemical system would likely damage many U.S. farms, according to documents seen by The Guardian.

Read More Show Less