Yugratna Srivastava meets Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai on Monday (US eastern standard time) during a UNEP-sponsored event to promote tree planting in New York. [chinadaily.com.cn/Photo by Huang Xiangyang]
A 13-year-old girl exhorted world leaders to deliver on climate change promises at the United Nations climate summit earlier this week.
"The Himalayas are melting. The polar bears are dying. Two out of five people do not have access to clean water … Is this what we are going to give to our future generations?" youth representative Yugratna Srivastava asked as she started her speech.
Yugratna was only the second person, after Severine Suzuki in 1992, to address the gathering of over 100 world leaders on behalf of 3 billion children and youth.
A member of NGO Friends of Trees in Lucknow, India, Yugratna exuded passion and confidence for the cause. "I just want to ask all your excellencies, do environmental problems recognize any political and geographic boundaries or age groups. My answer is certainly no," she said.
"We have to protect the earth, not just for us, but for our future generations. If not here, then where? If not now, then when? If not us, then who?"