Environmental activist Greta Thunberg called world leaders for "reaching out to young people in search of hope."
A group of 16 children from five continents, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, filed a legal complaint against five countries that could require them to change their laws to broaden the fight against climate change.
It comes in part with the two global climate attacks that marked the United Nations Global Climate Summit. The second strike is scheduled for Friday, a week later. millions of people marched to act on climate change.
The five countries mentioned in the complaint are Argentina, Brazil, France, Turkey and Germany.
"They were named because they are the largest issuers that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, on which the complaint is based," Thunberg said in a tweet on Tuesday, adding that the United States, China and Saudi Arabia were not. ratified the treaty.
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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified in 1989 and aims to protect the rights of children. It is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.
"The argument is that by not doing enough to mitigate or adapt to climate change, respondents failed to fulfill their duty to serve the interests of children's right to life, health and culture," said Erica Lyman, a middle school teacher. international environment. Law at Lewis & Clark College.
If young climate activists win their complaint, the United Nations will make recommendations to the five countries based on their treaty obligations.
"Although the recommendations are not legally binding, these nations have pledged to follow them," according to an Earthjustice statement, which represents young activists. "The obligations set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are binding."
Lyman said the United Nations would tell countries that children's rights are not being protected and "are disregarding and not fulfilling their obligations to mitigate and adapt to climate change."
"These children want to recognize that current trends suggest that their heritage is a climate change crisis and they want bold, bold and preventive action to mitigate it," she said.
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At a news conference on Monday announcing the complaint, the 16 young climate activists, ages 8 to 17, stood side by side explaining the impact climate change has had on their communities. They come from 12 countries on five continents, from the Arctic regions of Sweden to the tropical Marshall Islands. Some have a history of climate activism, while others have only recently been galvanized to act.
Although Thunberg's booming and direct speech to the UN General Assembly sparked the most media attention, these conference youth are equally frank.
"It's the right thing to say, and this is the truth, and this is our life that is being damaged and our future," said Brazilian activist Catarina Lorenzo, 12.
Carlos Manuel, 17, who lives in Palau, a small island country in the western Pacific Ocean, has criticized larger nations that are generating more emissions.
"I want the larger countries to know that we small island nations are the most vulnerable countries to be affected by climate change," he said. "Our homes are slowly being swallowed by the ocean."
Below is a look at who the young activists are, according to information of complaint. Although they are from around the world, they are unified by their stories of climate change that devastate their homes and livelihoods.
Greta Thunberg, 16; Stockholm, Sweden
The group's best-known is Greta Thunberg, who began leaving school on Fridays in Sweden to protest against political inaction about climate change outside the Swedish parliament. Through social media, their #FridaysForFuture protests have spread globally.
And she became the face of the youth movement. In August, she left the UK for New York on a two-week zero-emission boat trip. The trip was so that she could attend the UN climate meeting, where she passionately called politicians again for their inaction.
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Carl Smith, 17; Akiak, Alaska
A member of the Yupiaq indigenous tribe, Carl Smith has learned to hunt and fish with the elderly Yupiaq. Carl fears that "the Yupiaq way of life will disappear" as a result of climate change.
The salmon population in your community is dying of heat in unprecedented numbers. Their caribou population has also suffered from ice melting, which forbids them from crossing Yupiaq's hunting grounds.
Ranton Anjain, 17; Ebeye Island, Marshall Islands
Ranton Anjain is from Ebeye Island, the most populous of the Marshall Islands, located in the central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines. He is a participant in the nonprofit program Heirs to Our Oceans, where he advocates "climate issues with local leaders." "Climate change is destroying my islands due to rising sea levels and storms," he said at the press conference.
Ranton contracted dengue fever in 2019, which is now prevalent in the Marshall Islands. A 6-year-old child on the island died of dengue this summer.
David Ackley III, 16; Majuro, Marshall Islands
David Ackley III lives in Majuro, capital of the Marshall Islands, but was born in Illinois. He contracted chikungunya, a rare viral disease that, along with the Zika virus, has been introduced to the Marshall Islands in recent years. According to the World Health Organization, chikungunya is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes infected with the virus. It causes fever and severe joint pain.
He also participated in Heirs to Our Oceans, where he "talked to government officials about passing legislation to protect the environment." He is also an athlete, playing basketball with a club team.
Litokne Kabua, 16; Ebeye, Marshall Islands
Litokne Kabua and his family were forced to evacuate to a US Army base after violent storms devastated their home. He has a history of environmental work, studying coral health in the Marshall Islands, which in recent years has suffered the worst coral bleaching in history, according to Rice University.
"Climate change is affecting the way I live. It has taken my home, the land and the animals," he said in a statement. Litokne wants to work for the government to activate the global fight against climate change.
Deborah Adegbile, 12; Lagos, Nigeria
The increasingly volatile climate in Deborah Adegbile's Lagos home has created unstable conditions in the city, the country's economic engine.
Extreme flooding in Lagos, caused by an eight-month rainy season, results in the spread of infectious diseases. When the flood is too much, she said, "My parents have to carry me and my two brothers, getting us off the ground because we can't walk."
Deborah has been hospitalized several times for malaria and asthma as a result of extreme flooding and worsening air quality.
Carlos Manuel, 17; Koror, Palau
Carlos Manuel was born in the Philippines and moved to Palau – about 950 miles east of the Philippines – when he was 8 years old. Three years later, Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed an entire island north of Palau, forcing its residents to relocate.
Rising sea levels in the Pacific resulted in waves crashing into homes in Palau, while severe drought resulted in a state of emergency in 2016 – drying up nearby soil and rivers and affecting indigenous subsistence farmers.
Ayakha Melithafa, 17, Cape Town, South Africa
Ayakha Melithafa's mother keeps her family 160 kilometers from home in Cape Town through agricultural work, which has been hit by a "terrible drought".
But in Cape Town, the villagers started getting ready for "Day Zero" the day the city runs out of municipal water – and it may be the first major city in the world to do so. Caused by a year-long drought, the warning resulted in rationing and water restrictions. Recent flooding has also affected the water supply, causing neighbors to become ill from drinking the water.
Ellen-Anne, 8; Karesuando, Sweden
Ellen-Anne is part of the Sami indigenous community and lives in the arctic region of Sweden. She spent her childhood learning to raise reindeer, but climate change resulted in mass starvation and death.
Threats to food supplies are caused by warming and rain, which forms an ice sheet and makes grazing difficult, according to Åshild Ønvik Pedersen, an ecologist from the Norwegian Polar Institute.
Raslen Jbeli, 17; Tabarka, Tunisia
Raslen Jbeli grew up in Tabarka, where in recent years climate change has created conditions for "four seasons in a day".
In 2017, there were 146 fires in Tabarka, a far cry from the 37 fires in the previous year. Last year a fire hit his neighborhood – his house was spared but "burned down many of our neighbors' homes."
Flooding is also frequent, closing the school for weeks on end. Once, overflowing rivers fatally carried children returning home from school.
Alexandria Villaseñor, 14; New York City, New York
Alexandria Villaseñor tied national attention after Paradise fired in 2018, which devastated his health, exacerbated his asthma and resulted in anxiety and panic attacks. She moved to New …