Summit on Climate Change
22 September 2009
Speech of Yugratna Srivastava
Respected UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki – moon,
Honourable Dignitaries and August Assembly.
I am 13 years young Yugratna from organisation Tarumitra,
meaning Friends of Trees, which is an NGO of 1600 high
schools and involved in promoting environmental awareness.
I feel privileged to represent children and youth, 3 billion of the
world’s population in this Summit on Climate Change.
I am so much concerned about climate change because I don’t
want our future generations to question us just as I am
questioning the need of more concrete action on climate change
The Himalayas are melting, polar bears are dying, 2 of every 5
people don’t have access to clean drinking water, earth’s
temperature is increasing, we are losing the untapped
information and potential of plant species , Pacific’s water level
Is this what we are going to hand over to our future generations?
We received a clean and healthy planet from our ancestors and
we are gifting a damaged one to our successors? Is their any
justice in this?
Honourable Excellencies, we need to call for an action now. We
have to protect the earth not just for us but for our future
If not here then where, if not now then when and if not us then
Please listen to our voices. The future needs strong vision and
One month ago, we had a TUNZA International Children and
Youth Conference in Korea. The 800 participants and several
thousands online developed a statement requesting you as
1. Agree on a more fair, just and action oriented post-Kyoto
agreement adopted and implemented by all countries
Not just formulate policies but also enforce them by
translating them into actions.
1. Please stop the people who are making Mother Earth Cry.
2. Why cut the oxygen generating forests to create CO2
3. Include carbon and ecological footprint information in
4. Adapt to a green economy and sustainable production.
5. Develop a multi-national climate facility to monitor
climate response strategies.
The high tech. society and currency deposits in bank are of no
use if we don’t have a compatible biosphere.
In the awareness, it is not just about solving an environmental
problem….but it is exclusively about changing the mindset and
attitude of people!
Educate students about the climate change by making
environmental education mandatory at all the levels of learning.
To get a sustainable Earth, we don’t need to stop the
developments. The need is quest and expansion of affordable
eco-friendly technologies available to common man like Energy
Efficient Campuses, Bio-fuels and Renewable energy sources.
I just want to ask all the world leaders two questions:-
1. Do environmental problems recognize any geographical or
political boundaries and age groups? My answer is certainly no.
This is why; we have the UN to talk each other about these
issues. I request you to please include the voices of children and
youth in all your decisions.
2. If national security and peace, and economic growth are
priorities, than why not climate change?
I know that you all are great leaders but overall we all are
humans. We all have a kind heart. I am sure that UN
negotiations at Copenhagen this year will end with
recommendations for good of humanity…and they have to.
Whatever has happened in the past is over. We just have present
and future in our hands. Let’s act in the present to secure our
We have one Mother Earth: Care it and Share it.
Respected leaders, when you all make policies, please think of a
child suffering in greenhouse heat and think of the species
craving to survive.
Mahatma Gandhi said “Earth has enough to satisfy everyone’s
need but no one’s greed"
A bird can fly in air, a fish can swim in water, a leopard can run
far faster, But we the humans have been supernaturally gifted
with mind….a capability to think, change and reform ….so
come on let us all use these abilities to save our birthplace….
our home…. our mother earth!
What she says about the event
It was really a great experience to attend the summit. Three billion of world’s population was counting on me. It was not only me but it was United Nations Environment Programme which I was representing. Overall, it was a wonderful experience to speak in front of more than 100 world leaders.
I was basically appealing to the world leaders to include the voices of children and youth in all their decisions before they finally act. I also asked them to agree on a more, fair, just and action-oriented post-Kyoto agreement adopted and implemented by all countries. They have to seal the deal in Copenhagen.
I asked them two questions:
- If national security, peace and economic growth are priorities for them, then why not climate change?
- Do environmental problems recognize any political or geographical boundaries and age groups?
I interacted with our Secretary General Mr.Ban-Ki-moon. He congratulated me and my efforts as well. Amongst noble laureates, I interacted with three excellencies:-
- Honorable Ms.Wangari Maathai
- Honoralbe Mr.Al Gore
- Honorable Mr.R.K. Pachauri
Amongst the various Heads of State I met Head of State of Sweden, Japan, Costa Rica, Gambia, Denmark and Nepal.
I owe my success to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. UNEP helped me a lot with my speech as well as provided a lot of support and encouragement too.
I have been working as an active member of Tarumitra since 2006. Since then, I have been involved in promoting environmental awareness at grass root level as well as speaking at national and international conferences at the Global level.
In the coming time, I will be interacting with youth and children all across the country to encourage them to come up with several ideas for environment conservation. As well I am going to start Plant-for-the-Planet to plant 1 million trees in India.
Know more about Yugratna
Yugratna is a 13+ years old girl from India. She represents Asia and the Pacific region
in TUNZA- Junior-Board.
She is studying in grade 9 at St.Fidelis College, Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).
Yugratna also holds the rank of District child speaker champion.
She is prodigiously interested in taking steps to prevent environmental problems. One
steps in this direction was TUNZA’s International conference held last year in
Norway in which she got elected in Junior Board. She is the first Indian child to ever
get elected in the Junior Board.
The aims of her organisation of which she is a member is “Tarumitra” are:
• To spread ecological sensitivity.
• To equip its members with skills in handling local environmental problems.
• To organise campaigns for the preservation of bio-diversity.
• To promote spirituality and a world view that is earth friendly.
The main activities in which Yugratna is involved are:-
• To resist the felling of trees and forests and maintaining bio-diversity.,
• Promoting to built roadside gardens,
• Generating environmental awareness among parents during school functions
• Participating in Environmental related quizzes.
• Working at a global level to encourage POLITICIANS.
In their school, they collected funds for Bihar flood victims.
Funds for Cancer patients were also raised.
She has delivered speeches in and outside India and is on a constant crusade to create
a sustainable environment.
She uses media as an effective way for spreading environmental awareness.
She has represented Tarumitra at many conferences which includes “Caritas
International”, Tunza Conferences etc.
She launched a slogan in Nairobi which says “DEPOSIT GREEN GOLD TO
ENRICH OXY BANKS”.
At the Tunza Internetional Children Conference held last month in Korea, she gave a
rousing speech with ended with a call “If not now, then when?…..If not us then who?”
Yugratna believes that to solve any environmental problem 3 things are required:-
• Awareness…….of environmental problem
• Attitude…….. to be environment-friendly
• Determination………to create a sustainable environment
• Support………of the Politicians
But she considers that the support of the politicians is one of the most important
Last month, she also agreed to join Plant-For-The-Planet to plant one million trees in
MESSAGE TO WORLD COMMUNITY:-
“There is an inevitable need in the society to create awareness about climate change
and the policies and actions required to tackle it. In fact, a tremendous result can be
achieved by changing choices and attitudes.”
“There are no political or geographical boundaries for
Environmental Problems. Blaming anyone for any Environmental
Problem is of no use…..”