Will teenager Greta Thunberg win the Nobel Peace Prize?

Labor MK Stav Shaffir spoke with Maariv about how a social protest can take on the world.

By IRIS GEORLETTE/MAARIV
March 23, 2019 13:06
2 minute read.
Will teenager Greta Thunberg win the Nobel Peace Prize?

Activist Greta Thunberg speaks during the global demonstration "Global strike for future" in central Stockholm, Sweden, March 15, 2019.. (photo credit: HENRIK MONTGOMERY / TT NEWS AGENCY VIA REUTERS)

 
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The woman we focus on this week is a young one worthy of attention—the 16-year-old Noble peace prize Swedish candidate Greta Thunberg.

Her protest against the failure of world leaders and institutions to face the challenges of global warming inspired many teenagers. This week she told the public a saying that showed her great leadership: "no one is too small to make a change."

Last summer, Thunberg stood outside the Swedish parliament with a sign that said "School strike to save the climate," refusing to attend school on Fridays in protest of world leaders' inaction in face of global warming. Her protest spread across Europe and the world as @Fridays4FutureU. Roughly one hundred thousand students have participated in it so far.

Since then, Thunberg spoke at a variety of international events such as the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference and the World Economic Forum. "Our house is on fire," she told world leaders, "I want you to panic."

The youngest person to be awarded the Nobel peace prize until now was Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai for her work to encourage education for women, for which she was the victim of an assassination attempt in 2012. She won the award two years later at the age of 17.

"She is able to encourage thousands to move," said Labor MK Stav Shaffir who was one of the leaders of th esocial protest in 2011 in Israel, "and make a change, when so much responsibility is resting on one's shoulders many get confused or walk away, but not her."

Shaffir said she's proud of Thunberg and that "the great revolutions of the world took place because of young people who refused to accept reality and refused to believe that nothing can be done – and did it, this is how our own country was created," she said.

"Nobody can do such a protest alone," Shaffir said, "when I won it was because the public was engaged and worked with me. You can't change reality as one unit, only when we are part of a massive growing community that shares the path we're on."

Unlike the other Nobel awards which are handed out in Stockholm, the Nobel peace prize is handed out in Oslo.  

Thunberg is not only a social activist for the environment but is also open about her Asperger syndrome. Saying in 2018 that she and those like her, who has autism, "only speak when I think it's necessary. Now is one of those moments."

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