From streets to sum­mit: young cli­mate ac­tivists mo­bi­lize at UN

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

UNITED NA­TIONS (AFP) — A day af­ter youth-led global cli­mate strikes, sev­eral hun­dred young ac­tivists in­clud­ing Greta Thun­berg gath­ered for a cli­mate sum­mit at the United Na­tions on Satur­day, chid­ing older gen­er­a­tions for do­ing too lit­tle to curb car­bon emis­sions.

The U.N. has in­vited 500 young ac­tivists and en­trepreneur­s to take part in the New York meet­ing, the first of its kind, though some were un­able to at­tend af­ter be­ing de­nied U.S. visas, a point raised by the or­ga­niz­ers.

It comes days be­fore a cli­mate ac­tion sum­mit which U.N. chief An­to­nio Guter­res has called to seek greater com­mit­ments from world lead­ers on re­duc­ing their green­house gas emis­sions in line with the Paris ac­cord to avert run­away global warm­ing.

The tone for Satur­day’s event was set by an im­pas­sioned speech by Ar­gen­tine ac­tivist Bruno Ro­driguez, 19, who led school strikes in his na­tive coun­try.

“The cli­mate and eco­log­i­cal cri­sis is the po­lit­i­cal cri­sis of our time, it is the eco­nomic cri­sis of our time, and it is the cul­tural cri­sis of our time,” he said, as Guter­res, who was billed as the “key­note lis­tener,” watched on.

“Many times, we hear that our gen­er­a­tion is go­ing to be the one in charge of deal­ing with the prob­lems that cur­rent lead­ers have cre­ated, and we will not wait pas­sively to be­come that fu­ture: The time is now for us to be lead­ers.”

Thun­berg, whose protests out­side Swe­den’s par­lia­ment last year sparked the global youth move­ment, spoke first but briefly, say­ing she wanted to give more time to oth­ers.

“We showed we are united and young peo­ple are un­stop­pable,” said the 16-year-old, who will also ad­dress Mon­day’s sum­mit.

On Fri­day, masses of chil­dren skipped school to join global strikes that Thun­berg said were “only the be­gin­ning” of the move­ment.

Some four mil­lion peo­ple filled city streets around the world, or­ga­niz­ers said, in what was billed as the big­gest-ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by ris­ing tem­per­a­tures.

The cor­ri­dors of the U.N. were filled Satur­day with young peo­ple in for­mal suits and ties, dresses, and tra­di­tional wear from their home coun­tries, and oth­ers wear­ing sim­ple t-shirts and jeans.

“This is the change, and it’s com­ing,” said Lalita P-Junggee, a green en­tre­pre­neur from Mau­riti, who turns bill­boards and tex­tile waste into fash­ion­able bags.

The day also saw young in­no­va­tors propos­ing so­lu­tions, pitch­ing their ideas to pan­els from lead­ing global com­pa­nies like Google.

But cor­po­ra­tions also came un­der fire for their ties to the oil and gas in­dus­tries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Korea, Republic

© PressReader. All rights reserved.