In an audio message addressed to the award presentation ceremony, the president of the jury and former President of the Republic Jorge Sampaio pointed out that the Swedish teenager "managed to mobilise the younger generations for the cause of the climate".
Through the foundation named after her, Greta Thunberg will invest the prize money in actions to combat climate change, starting with the SOS Amazonia campaign, dedicated to helping people in the Amazon to face the covid-19 pandemic, with 100 thousand Euros.
Another 100 thousand Euros will be sent to the Stop Ecocide Foundation, which intends to create the criminal figure of "ecocide" in the case of mass attacks against the environment and nature.
In a video message, Greta Thunberg, said she hoped the prize would help her “do more for the world”.
"One million Euros is more money than I can imagine", she admitted, guaranteeing that she will go all the way to "different projects and organisations that fight for a sustainable world and defend Nature".
Scientist Miguel Bastos Araújo, a specialist in biogeography and the impact of climate change on biodiversity, who chaired one of the juries that decided the winner, told journalists that the choice of Greta Thunberg was based on three criteria: “merit, impact and innovation”.
"It is not a question of agreeing with all the things she said," he said, when asked about the controversial dimension of the activist, attacked and devalued by world leaders like the American Donald Trump, stressing that the name of Greta Thunberg was "named independently by three independent entities and passed between 136 candidates”.
He stressed that never in human history “has a 16-year-old managed to mobilise so many people”, mainly due to his innovative use of social networks, which multiplied the impact of what “started as an isolated act” all over the world, when Greta Thunberg started in 2018 skipping classes to go to the Swedish parliament to demand that policy makers take concrete action to combat climate change.
The head of Gulbenkian for Sustainability and former European commissioner Carlos Moedas, stressed that the award of the prize “reflects what the fight [against climate change] is going to be, because it will polarise between those who want to build and those who want to destroy the system, thinking they are creating a better system”.
“Greta wants to build”, she assured, based on the manifesto that the activist sent to European leaders and in which she affirms that one of the objectives of the movement she created, Fridays for Future, is “to protect democracy”.
The president of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Isabel Mota, said that it should be the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who hands over the prize to the activist, who will have to combine a visit to Portugal with the state of the world in the face of the pandemic and with a school vacation period, which may happen between November and January of next year.