When the US university student Anjali Appadurai lambasted diplomats from 194 countries for their lack of action and ambition at last year’s climate talks in Durban, she shocked the UN and galvanised the meeting. She told them:
“I speak for half the world. We are the silent majority. You’ve given us a seat in this hall, but our interests are not on the table. What does it take to get a stake in this game? Lobbyists? Corporate influence? Money? You’ve been negotiating all my life. In that time, you’ve failed to meet pledges, you’ve missed targets, and you’ve broken promises, but you’ve heard this all before.”
Her urgent “get it done” speech became a massive YouTube hit, but after taking part in an Occupy action she was then banned by UN security from going to the climate talks at Doha this year. Only a Twitterstorm and an appeal to UNFCCC chief Christiana Figueres had her reinstated this week.
Appadurai joins around 200 other 19-30 year olds in the cavernous Doha halls, any one of whom could have made, written or delivered a similar speech. Over the next few days youth activists will take “actions”, monitor, upbraid and shame governments and lobby furiously for urgent action to be taken to lower emissions.
The increasing presence and impact of young people in the climate talks is not just because climate change is “inter-generational”, says Fatima-Zahra Ibrahim, a law student at the University of Hull and one of seven UK youth climate coalition members in Doha. “Climate change does not discriminate in terms of age. We may be young but we, too, will be 30, 40 and 50. We bring a different voice”.
Read more: Guardian UK >>
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