Sixteen child petitioners from 12 countries around the world, including teen activist Greta Thunberg, filed a landmark official petition at United Nations Climate Action Summit on the Rights of the Child alleging that the lack of government action on the climate crisis has violated children's' rights. The petition highlighted how their rights are being violated by the collective failure of the governments of five nations in particular- Argentina, Brazil, France, Turkey and Germany.
Among those 16 children is India's Ridhima Pandey, the 11-year-old, who hails from Uttarakhand. She spoke at the UN summit on Monday, and said her mission is to “save the future.” “I want a better future. I want to save my future. I want to save our future. I want to save the future of all the children and all people of future generations,” said Ridhima.
Ridhima has a long history of fighting for the environment. She has taken after her father Dinesh Pandey, an environmentalist, who has been working with an NGO for the last 16 years.
Two years ago, someone sued the Indian government for its failure to take any action against climate change. That lawsuit was filed by the nine-year-old Ridhima, who demanded that the court orders the government to prepare a carbon budget that focusses on limiting carbon dioxide emissions. She also urged the court to ask the government to prepare a national climate recovery plan! Her plea was, however, rejected by the National Green Tribunal.
Earlier, in an interview with an international publication, she said, “My government has failed to take steps to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing extreme climate conditions. This will impact both me and future generations. My country has huge potential to reduce the use of fossil fuels, and because of the Government’s inaction, I approached the National Green Tribunal.”
Ridhima was five-years-old when the catastrophic floods and landslides hit several states of North India, including Uttarakhand. The calamity took more than 5,000 lives and caused tremendous loss of property.
The devastation affected Ridhima so much that she decided to do something meaningful for the planet. Since then, the young girl has been on a mission to ensure that the government takes steps to safeguard the environment.
Dear Ridhima, you are the change that we need as a country right now.
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