Share article:
Share article:

Youths tell leaders: ‘we deserve a future’

COP25’s slogan is ‘Time for Action’ but “it’s been time for action for much too long." Credit: Pexels

“We deserve a future.”

“Our leaders cannot let us down.”

“We must continue to fight.”

These were the calls by young climate activists from various countries on Wednesday in Madrid on the margins of the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference, COP25.

Humanity is going through its worst crisis ever and young people are its first victims, Jinhyun Park, a South Korean student said.

“We are calling on everyone to join our struggle against the climate crisis because we deserve a future,” she added at a press conference in which she participated alongside half a dozen other members of the “Fridays for Future” movement, launched by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who had not yet arrived in Madrid for the UN climate conference.

“Our leaders cannot let us down,” said Joel Pena, a young activist from Chile’s indigenous Mapuche community. “Unless States raise their ambitions in 2020, our future will be climate chaos.” Hailing “all those who fight each day to have a worthy life,” he said, “it’s for them that we continue to fight, even if we risk our lives.”

Ta’Kayia Blaney of the Tia A’min people of Canada insisted on the importance of indigenous people to the defence of the environment. “We, indigenous youth, are rising up against the industrial megaprojects (…) and the land they wish to destroy,” said the 18-year-old. “Our rights as the protectors of nature must be respected; there is no climate justice without indigenous justice.”

For his part, 16-year-old Swiss activist Linus Dolder stressed that “placing the interests of a few selfish people above the survival interests of millions, billions of people is undemocratic, criminal and inhuman.”

French student Léa Ilardo, who lives in Quebec, stressed that the group “will not stop our mobilisation for as long as you do not act as our real leaders”.

The some 200 signatories of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to +2°C, and even +1,5°C, are meeting in Madrid until 13 December, but the meeting may well disappoint anyone who expects it to yield a stronger ambition by global leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

COP25’s slogan is ‘Time for Action’ but “it’s been time for action for much too long,” commented Toby Thorpe, a young Australian representative of Fridays for Future. “We will continue to strike until the world’s leaders not only hear us but listen to us.”


The Brussels Times

Latest news

27,000 Belgian taxpayers to pay more after incorrect tax break
About 27,000 taxpayers who wrongly received a tax reduction in the last three years due to an error by the tax administration will have to pay what ...
Wallonia launches first major survey for cyclist satisfaction
Following in the footsteps of France and Flanders, the Wallonia Region of Belgium is launching its first major satisfaction survey on municipal ...
After 5 rescues in 2 days, hundreds of migrants take shelter in Italy
After five rescues in less than two days, almost 400 migrants aboard the Geo Barents search and rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean, operated by ...
Belgian wind farm closed down to save migrants floating in sea
A wind farm near Zeebrugge had to be shut down on Wednesday morning as more than 25 migrants had been adrift in its vicinity off the Belgian coast ...
Cinemas will require Covid Safe Ticket from Friday
The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will be required to attend cinemas across Belgium from Friday, which marks the start of the autumn holidays, the ...
Strong warnings issued ahead of climate change summit
New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a ...
Disastrous year for Belgian beekeepers
Belgian beekeepers have experienced a disastrous year, with honey production 50 to 60 percent lower than last year due to heavy rainfall during ...
New measures for schools considered as situation becomes ‘untenable’
Belgium's various education partners met on Wednesday to discuss additional measures to implement in schools as the coronavirus situation worsens in ...
Belgium in Brief: Back To Masks
I really hope you didn't throw out all your masks. You'll be needing them again. Now I do appreciate that this isn't a huge change for ...
Belgium a climate slowcoach as EU reveals emissions progress
The European Union is on track to pass its first big climate test, according to new figures published this week. But Belgium has been singled out for ...
Limiting private contacts ‘needed to fight autumn wave’, expert warns
The Consultative Committee announced it is introducing a handful of measures in public spaces to control the quickening spread of the coronavirus, ...
Belgium’s decision on possible third shot postponed until Saturday
The decision on how Belgium will proceed with the roll-out of third shots of the coronavirus vaccine has been postponed until Saturday.  The news ...