This week, Thunberg won the very first Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity, launched by Portugal’s Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, for her environmental activism. In a Twitter video accepting the honor, she said the winning prize was “more money than [she] can even begin to imagine.”
So she’s giving the money away. Through her eponymous foundation, Thunberg said she’ll donate $114,000 to SOS Amazônia, an environmental organization working to protect the rainforest that also works to fight the pandemic in indigenous territories of the Amazon through access to basic hygiene, food and health equipment.
The 17-year-old Swede will also donate $114,000 to the Stop Ecocide Foundation, which aims to make ecocide, or environmental destruction, an international crime.
Thunberg will donate the rest of the prize money through her foundation to causes that “help people on the front lines affected by the climate crisis and ecological crisis especially in the global South,” she said in her Twitter announcement.
Thunberg was selected among 136 nominees from 46 countries for the first-annual prize for her ability to “mobilize younger generations for the cause of climate change,” Chair of the Grand Jury Prize Jorge Sampaio said in the winner’s announcement.
She received a separate award in May for her activism, and she donated all $100,000 of it to UNICEF to protect children from the Covid-19 pandemic. The charity that awarded her the prize, Denmark’s Human Act foundation, matched her donation and launched a campaign to safeguard children’s welfare during the pandemic.
Thunberg was 15 when she first began holding climate strikes, and eventually, she mobilized thousands of young people across the world to skip school on Fridays to protest the climate crisis.
In August 2019, she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from the UK to New York in a zero-emissions sailboat to speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. At the summit in September, when she was 16, she delivered an incendiary speech condemning attendees for prizing “eternal economic growth” over the environment.
Later in 2019, Thunberg was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year and was considered a frontrunner that year for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize ultimately awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for ending the country’s conflict with Eritrea.
Her activism has peeved President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly mocked her on social media. He wrote that she has “anger management issues” when the news of her Time honor broke, and he sarcastically called her a “very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future” in response to her speech at the UN Climate Action Summit.