Environmental activist Bill McKibben’s name should be well known to most of us.

Today it was announced that he has been awarded the Sophie Prize in recognition of his environmental activism and mobilization against global warming.
You may be happily unaware of this prize, so I’ll try to provide some background.

The Sophie Prize is an international award (US $ 100,000), for environment and sustainable development, awarded annually. The Sophie Prize is established to inspire people working towards a sustainable future. The Prize was established in 1997 by the Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder and his wife Siri Dannevig.

The prize is named for Gaarder’s highly successful novel on the history of philosophy, Sophie’s World, which was translated into 53 languages and with over 30 million copies in print. Gaarder and his wife donated a substantial portion of the profits to establish the prize – some NOK 16.8 million (almost USD 3 million), as well as the rights to two other books he authored.

Yesterday’s announcement

The American journalist, author and environmentalist, Bill McKibben (1960) receives the Sophie Prize 2013 for his mobilizing force to fight global warming.

The Sophie Prize jury finds that Bill McKibben in only a few years has demonstrated a remarkable mobilizing forve, building a global, social movement, fighting to preserve a sustainable planet.
The Sophie Prize winner 2013 appreciates the jury decision:

  •  It means an enormous amount to me, because I loved the original book that underwrote this prize, and because after my home country Norway is perhaps the place I love best (and my daughter is named Sophie!).
  • But mostly it means that the work so many are doing around the world to fight climate change is not going unnoticed.  This award will help fund more of that organizing all over the planet, McKibben says.

McKibben will receive the award in Oslo on October 28. This will be the last Sophie Prize  award. The Sophie Prize board is convinced, however, that the spirit of the prize – a sustainable future – will continue.
[diarist’s note: McKibben is a frequent visitor to Norway where he also participates in classic ski races

Previous winners:

  1. Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria
  2. Herman Daly, USA and Thomas Kocherry, India
  3. Sheri Liao, Chinese journalist and environmental activist
  4. ATTAC, France
  5. Archbishop Bartholomeus I, patriarch of Constantinople since 1991
  6. John Pilger, Australian journalist and documentary film maker
  7. Wangari Maathai, political environmental activist, Kenya
  8. Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Canadian Inuitt activist
  9. Romina Picolotti, Argentinian lawyer and human rights activist
  10. Göran Persson, previous Swedish Prime Minister
  11. Gretchen C. Daily, US biology professor
  12. Marina Silva, political environmental activist, Brazil
  13. James Hansen, climate researcher, USA
  14. Tristram Stuart, Brithish activist og author
  15. Eva Joly, Norwegian/French corruption hunter, jurist and politician

This is great news. Warmest congratulations to Bill.

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