8-yr-old Indian 'Greta' urges leaders at COP25 to act now to save the planet

03:14 PM Dec 12, 2019 | PTI |
Madrid: Eight-year-old Licypriya Kangujam, known as Indian 'Greta' for her passion for the fight against climate change has urged global leaders to take immediate action to save the planet and the future of young children like her. Speaking at the COP25 climate conference here, the young activist from Manipur who has already spoken in 21 countries on climate change, gave the world a glimpse of her resolve as she urged global leaders to "act now against climate change". The little girl has quickly shot to limelight with Spanish newspapers hailing her as 'Greta' of the Global South. Watching Kangujam speak with such wisdom, it's hard to guess her age all of eight years old. But she nearly missed the chance to give her a message to the world. According to her father, KK Singh, who accompanied her to Spain, several requests to the government to help her with funding fell on deaf ears. Singh noted that when the UN sent her the invitation letter to participate, and address her concerns at COP25, they had no idea how they will manage the expenses to travel to Spain. Singh said the family sent email requests to several ministers for sponsorship but got no reply. He said after trying to crowdfund her trip, a person from Bhubaneshwar booked their tickets to Madrid. "My mom broke her gold chain and finally booked my hotels," Kangujam said. However, Singh added that just a day before leaving for Madrid from India on November 30, they got an email from the Spanish government that they would sponsor their accommodation for the 13-day event. Making it to Madrid after crossing so many hurdles made Kangujam even more determined to ensure she is heard. "I have come here to tell the world leaders that this is the time to act as it is a real climate emergency," the young activist enthralled the audiences on Tuesday during a high-level event at 'The UN Climate Change Conference COP 25 being held in the Spanish capital from December 2-13. Kangujam had to drop out of school in February as she could not attend most of her classes. Activism, including participating in a weekly protest outside the Parliament house, took up most of her time. While her fight against climate change will continue, the girl has not given up on the dream of pursuing her education altogether. According to Singh, Kangujam is the youngest climate activist in the world. So far, Singh said, Kangujam has traveled 21 countries and spoken at many events as a part of her movement. Kangujam was born in Imphal but has almost always lived outside the state, especially in Delhi and in Bhubaneswar. She noted that the young climate activists like her want a system change, not climate change. Kanjugam is inspired by the works of Mahatma Gandhi and Former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam.

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