The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, a Portuguese philanthropic institute, awarded the School Strike for Climate founder 1 million euros (AU$1,614,285) along with her prize.
In a video she tweeted on Monday, Thunberg called the sum “more money than I can even begin to imagine” and said she would donate it all to charities fighting climate change.
“This means a lot to me,” she continued. “And I hope it will help me do more good in the world.”
Thunberg tweeted that she wanted to use the prize money to “help people on the front lines affected by the climate crisis and ecological crisis” and would be focusing on causes “fighting for a sustainable world, defending nature and supporting people already facing the worst impacts of the climate- and ecological crisis - particularly those living in the Global South.”
In an additional tweet, Thunberg said that the SOS Amazonia Campaign would receive some of her prize money. The initiative is currently helping Indigenous communities in the Amazon fighting to preserve the rainforest to address a worsening COVID-19 crisis.
Thunberg also said the Stop Ecocide Foundation would receive funds to support making ecocide, the mass destruction of the environment, an international crime.
The Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity, awarded each year, aims to “recognise people, groups of people and/or organisations from all over the world whose contributions to mitigation and adaptation to climate change stand out for its novelty, innovation and impact,” according to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Jorge Sampaio, chairman of the prize’s grand jury, praised Thunberg’s ability to mobilise youth, saying her “tenacious struggle to alter a status quo that persists, makes her one of the most remarkable figures of our days.”