Children and young people can often speak in challenging ways. I would like to offer five. The first is a 7-year-old Australian girl, Gillian, who is concerned about damage to the Great Barrier Reef:
Secondly, a young Fijian boy, Timoci Naulusala, who spoke at the COP23 meeting in Bonn, in November 2017:
Thirdly, a 13-year old Canadian girl, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, who addressed the United Nations Rio Summit in 1992:
In October 2014, in Copenhagen, Denmark, a group of children from Ghana, Belgium, Nigeria, Sweden, India, Zambia and Denmark, also raised issues associated with climate change:
The United Nations has a special Joint Framework initiative for youth. Further details can be found at:
Since this was posted, another young girl has hit the headlines, a 15-year old Swedish girl who stopped going to school, so that she could protest outside the Swedish parliament. Her story can be found on another, more recent, blog and is also copied below with acknowledgements to democracynow.org:
You Are Stealing Our Future: Greta Thunberg, 15, Condemns the World’s Inaction on Climate Change
GRETA THUNBERG: My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old, and I’m from Sweden. I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now!
Many people say that Sweden is just a small country, and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned that you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.
But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children.
But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.
The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.
Until you start focusing on what needs to be done, rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then maybe we should change the system itself.
We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses, and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people. Thank you.
Here is Greta Thunberg’s speech to the Climate Action Summit 2019 in the USA:
And here, a 22-year old college student from Uganda, Hilda Flavia Nakabuye,who talks about how climate change is already affecting her parents’ livelihood:
The speech above was to the C40 Mayors summit in Copenhagen, October 2019.