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In the lead up to the UN Climate Summit in New York starting September 22nd, the Climate Reality Project called for youth voices to submit questions to be played in a video at the summit. People across the globe aged between 13 and 21 submitted 1 minute videos answering the question ‘Why? Why Not?’
The idea behind the campaign is that the people who will be impacted greatly by climate change (they will be between 49 and 57 in 2050, when the globe will have reached 2oC of global warming) get a chance to ask world leaders why they continue to do little to act on climate and give suggestions as to what other, better things they could be doing.
Watching the videos of the finalists on the website is a beautiful reminder both of how it seems like such a no-brainer to a teenager today to act on climate but also of how the many compromises and decisions we make as we grow up have created our current conflicted selves. When you’re not part of the system, change is so much easier.
The questions range from investments in coal vs solar, asking what it is that world leaders are ‘so afraid of’, asking why world leaders pretend they’re protecting the environment when they don’t then walk the walk, and simply asking why we are still investing in and looking for new fossil fuels.
Some of the questions are insightful and complex, like Clara from the United Arab Emirates, who asks ‘why do global economic policies consistently stimulate reliance on fossil fuels?’ and others are poignant like Polina from Russia who asks ‘why do you let the fossil fuel industry have so much influence over you?’
The winners will be travelling to New York City over the next few days to have their questions professionally filmed and screened when they attend the UN Climate Summit next week. Let’s hope the Climate Reality Project’s attempts to help youth speak truth to power works.