For Immediate Release
Bill McKibben and 350.org receive Alternative Nobel
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - 350.org founder Bill McKibben will receive the Right Livelihood Award also known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ at a ceremony at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm today. The Jury honours the author, educator and environmentalist ‘for mobilising growing popular support in the USA and around the world for strong action to counter the threat of global climate change’.
“This prize really goes to the vast number of people who have joined the most widespread movement in the planet’s history. On every continent, in every faith, from every background, people are now fighting together to beat the first truly planet-scale challenge we’ve ever faced,” said McKibben.
McKibben used his stay in Sweden to join an artistic action with a young indigenous Sami singer calling on the City of Stockholm to divest from fossil fuels. He commented, “The Sami people – able to count on winter for as far back as we can peer into history – now find treacherous weather that makes their traditional lives ever harder. In this they provide a warning to the rest of the planet.”
The Fossil Free campaign demands public institutions stop funding the fossil fuel industry, which has five times more oil, coal and gas in its reserves than can be burnt without triggering catastrophic climate change. The campaign aims to weaken the industry’s political power, and thereby break the climate deadlock and build the solutions the world needs. The divestment movement has spread rapidly around the world and is gearing up to take collective action in a global mobilisation.
McKibben is one of five recipients of this year’s awards. His co-laureates are whistleblower Edward Snowden (USA) and Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger (UK) who share a joint Honorary Award, human rights activists Asma Jahangir (Pakistan) and Basil Fernando/ Asian Human Rights Commission (Hong Kong, China).
The prize money of about 660,000 SEK will fund the work of 350.org and its partner organisations. McKibben said, “This money will be used to support 350.org’s various fights against the fossil fuel industry, from Australia to Alberta. It still leaves us a tiny bit short of Exxon’s wealth, but since most of us – me included – are volunteers, the money goes a long way!”
350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.