Published: 09th January 2020
I call our leaders to take action: Licypriya Kangujam, 8-year-old climate change activist from Manipur
Licypriya also wants the world's children and youngsters to claim rights over the climate crises as they are the future generation
Our leaders are all speech and no action, said Licypriya Kangujam, one of the world's youngest climate change activists, speaking at The New Indian Express' ThinkEdu Conclave 2020 on Thursday. "I want our leaders to show more action," she said.
Born in Imphal, Manipur, in 2011, she is one of the youngest climate activists in the world, having spoken at numerous platforms worldwide. In 2019, she attended the UNESCO Partners' Forum in Angola. She began a climate strike with more than 50,000 children and youth to call the attention of world leaders to take strong environmental action.
"I want to go to school. I wouldn't be here if our leaders took
action," she said, adding that she doesn't go to school so that she makes sure she protests at the national capital every week. The Child Movement's founder confesses that she feels emotional when she sees children losing their parents and people becoming homeless at the threat of climate disasters. "My heart bleeds for people who cannot defend themselves when disaster strikes," she rued.
She said that it made her uneasy when ministers deny climate change and say that air pollution does not affect people's health. "12 million people have died because of poor air quality. I've travelled to 21 countries. I'm asking our Prime Minister Narendra Modi to change paper into actions," she said.
She asked what would happen to the health of Indian children if we ignore the threat of air pollution. "Have you seen the air at Delhi?" she asked, adding that our leaders, "don't have the time to listen to us. They don't hear our voice," she lamented.
Kanjugam attended the COP25 — the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference — a month ago, alongside Swedish child environmental activist Greta Thunberg. Kanjugam, who has been hailed as the 'Greta Thunberg of India' by many, said, "Last month, I went and met many other children like me at COP25. I want to tell our leaders that this is our time to act," she said, exclaiming that she wants everyone in the country to
say, "We will! We will! We will!"
She said she wants more children to claim rights over the climate crises as they are the future generation. "What we want is not just about tomorrow alone. It is about today and now," she concluded.