UN Holds Summit for Young Climate Leaders

The United Nations kicked off its climate week with a day-long event summit for 600 young climate advocates, including Greta Thunberg, who put the adult political leaders on notice that they had must move the world to switch to clean energy and away from fossil fuels and to also protect oceans and promote sustainable consumption.  According to the United Nations, UN Secretary-General António Guterres served as “keynote listener” to a panel of young people who were not only at the frontlines of the climate emergency, but also coming up with innovative ways to combat the crisis.

Why This Matters:  The student activists have clearly gotten the attention of the adults in the room.  But have they helped us to reach beyond those who were already listening?  Will these protests lead to tangible political action?  These are important questions and the success of the entire movement lies in building political support among current skeptics, and in pressuring politicians to take action.  And if anyone can get to those adults who have not been paying attention or who still don’t believe the scientific evidence of a warming planet, it is their own children.

Some Young Voices Heard at the UN

Fijian climate change action advocate Komal Kumar said her homeland was suffering greatly from the impact of a climate crisis it had contributed very little to create.   “Things are black and white for us: We are not insurance policies, we are human beings, we are communities….We demand action. Stop wasting time. Stop hindering the work [towards a sustainable future] for short term profits. Engage young people in the design of adaptation plans,” said Ms. Kumar, who warned: “We will hold you accountable. And if you do not remember, we will mobilize to vote you out.”

Bruno Rodriquez of Argentina thanked the UN for “including the voices of our generation in the process of building paths towards a more habitable planet,” but also declared climate change “the political crisis, cultural crisis of our time. Enough is enough. We don’t want fossil fuels anymore.”

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