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Mission Paani: Licypriya Kangujam Advocates Mandatory Climate Change Literacy in Schools

Young climate change activist Licyprya Kangujam.

Young climate change activist Licyprya Kangujam.

One of the world's youngest climate change activists Licyprya Kangujam is taking charge on this gigantic issue of climate change.

Climate change is real, yet many do not want to accept that our actions of indulgence and comfortable lifestyle have an effect on the well-being on this space rock that we call home. Making people aware and concerned about climate change isn’t solely the duty of white-coat clad older scientists. Our younger generation needs to participate in equity as they are the future residents of the planet. In one such instance of a young person taking charge of this gigantic issue is a young girl from India, Licypriya Kangujam.

Kangujam is one of the world’s youngest environmental activists. While Greta Thunberg got a lot of attention for her brave take on the world leaders, contributions of Kangujam are largely overlooked even in her own country. She made international news when she was chosen to speak at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain in 2019. She was just 8 years old at the time of her historic speech and her plea to the world to save our planet.

The activist had been running campaigns for two years to increase environmental awareness and advocating for climate change literacy to be made mandatory in schools. During her speech at the COP25 in Madrid, she told the world it was high time to act. The event was focussed around the discussion regarding carbon markets of the world and many activists were invited to share their expertise.

She also went on to question why should she be there, instead of playing or going to the school, when the world leaders had known the climate change was real even before her birth? She went on to speak about the urgent need to cut down emissions, create more sustainable frameworks, and preserve the diversity of our planet.

She even met Greta at the event, though it wasn’t in the highest of spirits. Both young leaders were frustrated at the world leaders who seemed to care little about the planet and our environment. But Kangujam maintains Greta is her biggest influence in life.

Her mission towards environmental endeavours began at the age of 6. In an interview with The Hindu, she explained how she was at a meeting on disaster risk reductions that had a big impact on her and she realised what we are doing to our planet and how we are destroying it. She met with people who were now homeless due to natural disasters. She travelled the world, met other activists and joined various campaigns.

She even sat outside parliament for weeks, hoping to get Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s and other MPs’ attention. Sitting out there for weeks with placards, she had hoped they would pass climate change law to control and regulate the emission of carbon.

But just like her voice went unheard in Delhi, she felt the conference was also little productive. The governments are more interested in stocks and votes, she says. But losing the planet is not like losing a few dollars in the stock market or missing out on a few votes. It is the future of the entire humankind, animals, trees and oceans and everything that makes our home at stake.

Kangujam, who wants to grow up to be a space scientist, did not receive any support from the government for her monumental speech at the COP25. She had to arrange for funds, despite repeated pleas to the government.

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