Canadian youth to UN: "I feel ashamed when countries like mine who have so much, do so little."
At the end of long line of country statements to the UN on their positions on climate change, intergovernmental organizations and civil society members were allowed to make a strictly 2 minute max speech. The international youth was also "given" space to make a statement as well.
Half the world's population. And two minutes to heard on an issue we would have to deal with the consequences with.
Taryn McKenzie-Mohr of Canada, Leah Wickham of the South Pacific Islands, Eline Crossland of Denmark, and Kartikeya Singh of India, addressed the UN plenary with a no-holds bar plea for countries to get their act together, and stop delaying.
The following is the entire speech in full:
“I know we are all in this together and should act as one single world.”
Those were the words of a young girl addressing the Rio Summit. At the time of that speech I was just a year old, 16 years later you are still unable to reach an agreement to secure my future.
I feel ashamed when countries like mine who have so much, do so little. I feel outraged when they trade basic human rights for their own self interest. Developed countries must show leadership and if they don’t it will be the most unconscionable act in the history of humanity.
In my ancestral village in, India, farmers have never been to a shopping mall, nor have they had the luxury of owning a car. NO, they do not know the words “global warming,” but they do know that the seasons are changing.
Address this global challenge, overcome greed and fear. Greed is embedded in the ‘growth’ culture of wealthy nations. Our fear stops us from changing to the sustainable lifestyle, the sustainable economy we need.
We ask for leadership that overcomes these barriers.
Leah Wickham (South Pacific Islands)
For small island nations, negative climate impacts are happening today.
Our islands are drowning. We are going underwater.
We have a right to existence on this earth.
This right is no less than developed nations, but, if you do not take action, we face the loss of our islands, our culture and our identity.
Over 80 nations have signed the youth pledge calling for the survival of all countries and peoples.
This must form the basis of the next agreement and we will hold you to your word.
This week, my region has grieved us deeply this week by failing to take bold action.
We need your courage. Other countries are backing away from previous commitments. We need your ambition.
Change may be coming, but we need hope to translate into action.
Do not derail our journey to a sustainable future.
The train to Copenhagen is already moving, youth are on board, are you?
Survival is not negotiable.