Fresh off the climate strike that took hundreds of thousands of young people out of classrooms and into the Roads globally, youth leaders gathered at the United Nations Saturday to demand radical moves to fight climate change.
“We showed that we are united and that we, young people, are unstoppable,” Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, who started the climate strike movement with her lone protest in front of her country’s parliament approximately a year and a half ago.
More than 700 mostly young activists attended the first of its type Youth Climate Summit, according to Luis Alfonso de Alba, the U.N. special climate summit envoy.
Friday’s strike across six continents and Saturday’s youth convention presage a full-on climate convention next week at the U.N. General Meeting, which has placed the issue of climate change at front and center as world leaders gather for the once a year assembly.
Activists at Saturday’s gathering demanded money for a fund to help poorer nations adapt to a warming world and supply greener energy. They also insisted that the world will have to wean itself quickly from coal, oil and gas that cause climate change.
“Stop the crook contaminant behavior of big corporations,” said Argentine climate activist Bruno Rodriguez. “Enough is enough. We don’t want fossil fuels anymore.”
Jayathma Wickramanayake, the U.N. Secretary-General’s youth envoy, called climate change “the defining issue of our time. Millions of young people far and wide the world are already being affected by it.”
All through Thunberg’s short lifetime, as an example, the Soil has already warmed 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.34 degrees Celsiuis).
Fiji climate activist Komal Karishma Kumar said global warming is not only taking a toll on the earth but on her generation, particularly people from vulnerable places like her Pacific island nation.
“Young people from different parts of the world are living in fixed fear and climate anxiety, fearing the future, the uncertainty of a healthy life or a life for their children at all,” Kumar said.
She added: “I don’t want our future generations to submerge with our sinking islands.”
After listening to Thunberg and other youth climate activists, a tie-less Secretary-General Antonio Guterres credited young people with transforming him from a pessimist to an optimist in the fight against global warming.
Guterres said he sees “a change in momentum” going into Monday’s Climate Action Summit taking place ahead of the U.N. General Meeting gathering of world leaders that starts Tuesday, telling the youths “you have started this movement.”
“I encourage you to retain your initiative. Retain your mobilization and increasingly to hold my generation accountable,” Guterres said. “My generation has in large part failed until now to maintain both justice on the earth and to maintain the planet.”
Kumar told Guterres that “we will be able to hold you accountable and whether you don’t, consider we will be able to mobilize to vote you out.”
The youth activists brainstormed approximately what they could do to change the trajectory of an ever-warming planet and how they may be able to help the world adapt to climate’s changes. There was once talk of hashtags, entrepreneurial ideas and climate art and poetry.
“Be that hummingbird that puts out the forest fire by fetching water with its small beak as the entire other animals, including the elephant, told her it was once unattainable,” said Kenyan activist Wanjuhi Njroge.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
Sep 22, 2019 02:35 IST