Can we try recalling what we were upto when we were 9. Probably fighting over a toy with our siblings.
Here is a 9 year old girl from Manipur, Licypriya Kangujam, who is fighting too, not over a toy, but climate change, which is one of the greatest threats our planet, Earth, is facing today.
At her age, she has already been falicitated by the United Nations for her efforts towards environmental activism and she has addressed global conferences on climate change and disaster management. And this is just the beginning of the list of accolades she has won at such an early age.
Born on 2nd October 2011, she has addressed world leaders at the UN climate conference 2019 in Madrid, Spain. She has won Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Children Award, World Children’s Peace Prize by Institute of Economics and Peace, Australia, Rising Star by Earth Day Network in Washington DC, USA, all in 2019. In 2020 she got the Global Child Prodigy Award by none other than Lietinent Governor of Pondicherry Kiran Bedi and the Nobel Citizen Award. Recently in 2021 she was conferred with the CNN News 18 Water Heroes Award.
Her life has been truly inspiring. In an interview with Harvard International Review, she spoke about how she started to be vocal about the pressing need to arrest the rapid climate change.
In 2016, I came to Delhi for the first time for my schooling, but my life became very messy due to the high air pollution level. Later, I moved to Bhubaneswar, Odisha, in the same year for my schooling. Again my home in Odisha was hit by Cyclone Titli in 2018 and Cyclone Fani in 2019. These incidences in my life turned me into an outspoken child that talks about the impact of climate change to our leaders when they failed to act on it.https://hir.harvard.edu/licypriya-kangujam-interview/
She has a vision for making a real impact. She protested outside Indian parliament in February, 2019 with the demand to pass the climate change law in the parliament as soon as possible and to make climate education compulsory in every school in India. She further stresses on the importance of tree plantation. In an interview she qoutes
India has over 350 million students. If 350 million students plant a minimum of 10 trees every year, then we will plant 3.5 billion trees every year. Trust me; India will be green within five to 10 years. This will help fight the air pollution, floods, droughts, heat waves and other environmental issues in the country.https://hir.harvard.edu/licypriya-kangujam-interview/
That is some serious thinking from a 9 year old. She further informs that she herself has planted 350000 trees in her life across India.
She envisions climate change as an urgent political issue and her thoughts about making climate education compulsory will go a long way in making the younger generation understand the gravity of the situation.
No doubt she has already made a big positive impact but sadly she has received her share of threats, abuse and cyber bullying for speaking out or for criticising some leaders who try to silence her voice.
Instead she should be seen as an inspiration for all generations, old or young. And she has proven that age doesn’t matter to make a difference.
Signing off now, stay tuned for similar information about events, which gives us hope of a better world for our future generations. See you all in our next episode.