Eight-year-old Licypriya Kangujam, who has also been called India’s ‘Greta’ for her passion to fight 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 in Madrid, 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 made a mark 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.
Today, I will be meeting HE @antonioguterres, Secretary General @UN at 5 pm @COP25CL to submit a 10 points memorandum on behalf of the children of the world to heard our voice to create a better world for all of us.
— Licypriya Kangujam (@LicypriyaK) December 12, 2019
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.
The news comes after Time magazine on Wednesday revealed Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg as its Person of the Year 2019. Thunberg, who turns 17 in January, became the face of the climate change movement and represents billions of young people protesting for a healthy environment. Time described the blunt teen activist as the “most compelling voice on the most important issue facing the planet.”