A 13-year-old Indian girl, speaking on behalf of the world’s three billion children, asked world leaders here, including the Presidents of United States and China, for urgent action on climate change.
“I am so much concerned about climate change because I don’t want our future generations to question us just as I am questioning the need of more concrete action on climate change today,” Yugratna Srivastava from Lucknow said at the Summit on Climate Change in the United Nations.
“The Himalayas are melting, polar bears are dying, 2 of every 5 people don’t have access to clean drinking water, earth’s temperature is increasing, we are losing the untapped information and potential of plant species, Pacific’s water level has risen, Is this what we are going to hand over to our future generations? Please......no!”
The ninth grader from St Fidelis College spoke at the high-level summit convened by the U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon. India was represented by Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.
The summit is being held to mobilise political will ahead of the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, which is expected to yield a climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.
“We need to call for an action now. We have to protect the earth not just for us but for our future generations,” Ms. Srivastava told an audience consisting of U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
“If not here then where, if not now then when and if not us then who?” she asked.
The student from Lucknow is also on the youth advisory board of United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) youth organisation called ‘Tunza ‘(to nurture).
Noting that climate change knew no political or geographical boundaries she said, “When you all make policies sitting in air conditioned rooms, please think of a child suffering in greenhouse heat and think of the species craving to survive.”
“Mahatma Gandhi said Earth has enough to satisfy everyone’s need but no one’s greed,” she added.