Sixty-four children from over twenty countries are currently meeting in Sweden to discuss how to combat climate change.
Their goal is to agree on a list of demands that will then be presented to world leaders at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris next week.
Anna Albinsson, the coordinator of the Children’s Climate Conference, says they organised the event to let politicians and the general public know what children think about climate change and to make their voices heard in the debate.
“The children’s voices are important because it’s their planet and it’s their children’s children’s planet, so I think it’s very important that we listen to them,” says Albinsson.
Children affected by changing environment
Albinsson says that most of the children attending the conference have been personally affected by climate change. The two girls representing Samoa both go to a school that has been flooded and that needs to be moved because of rising sea levels and the two girls representing Tanzania have been affected by extreme drought in their region.
Autumn Peltier and Francesca Pheasant are both part of the Canadian delegation. They are 11 and 12 years old and have travelled to the conference in Södertälje, south of Stockholm, from the island of Manitoulin in Lake Huron in south-eastern Canada.
They say that they’ve noticed how pollution from nearby factories has affected both the water and the air where they live and they say they’re worried about how climate change is going to affect them in the future.
“It’s kind of difficult to live in a world that’s wrecked,” says Francesca Pheasant.
When asked what she thinks will happen in the future she says “if climate change gets any worse I think it’s going to get harder and harder to live”.
What children want from politicians
She says that she would want politicians to try and get people to buy fewer things and bring down consumption. Her friend, Autumn Peltier, would like them to focus on cleaning up polluted waters.
“I think they should start a business where there can be people to clean up the shorelines and the water and make sure it’s ok, because a lot of things need clean water, including us,” Peltier says.
They both look forward to when their list of demands is handed over to politicians at the climate conference in Paris, and hope that they will listen.
“I hope they do listen, because we need a lot of things to stop. They should be listening but they don’t sometimes. If we complain more, then maybe they could,” says Peltier.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: COP21: View from Yukon, Canada, Eye on the Arctic
Finland: Helsinki City Council to close coal plant, Yle News
Germany: Energy giant sued for climate change, Deutsche Welle
Norway: Arctic residents in hot water, Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger
Sweden: How will global warming affect Sweden?, Radio Sweden
United States: Cleaner atmosphere means more Arctic ice melt: study, Alaska Dispatch News