New Delhi, 21 Oct.: Eight-year-old Indian climate activist Licypriya Kangujam kicks off the historic “Great October March 2019” today at India Gate, New Delhi with her thousands of supporters. Great October March is taking place in more than 70 countries from 21 – 27 October in over 1000 locations for urgent action on Climate Change and also to enact the climate law.
She said, “Till today, only 5 countries viz., New Zealand, Australia, UK, Mexico & Peru have their legislation on climate change but 98% are not yet including India. We are marching to call on world leaders to enact the climate law as soon as possible so that it can regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases to save our planet and our future. They must unite and act now before it’s too late.”
Alarmed by the Delhi air pollution and images of the felling of thousands of trees at Aarey forests, students and workers abandoned schools, shops and offices in nearly every corner of the Delhi, aiming to stop what they see as a looming environmental catastrophe.
The protests started in the New Delhi, where rising air pollution threaten a way of life, and followed the sun across Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Southeast and on to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.
Massive crowds overwhelmed the streets of Raj Path, chanting “Save our planet!” while anticipating an address by Licypriya, an international child sensation who is traveling around the world for her environmental movement ahead of United Nations COP25 at Chile.
“Right now, we are the ones who are making a difference. If no one else will take action, then we will,” Licypriya told hundreds of people gathered at a park in front of the India Gate.
Once she took the stage, the crowd chanted her name, then went silent to hang on her every word. As she paused between sentences, people erupted into applause.
“Age doesn’t matter to make a difference. Today, Government tries to stop our protest. Instead of stopping us, they must stop climate change,” she concluded.
Demonstrators in Jorhat, Assam raised a painting of Licypriya reading, “We support Licypriya.” Several group of young people also organised mass tree plantations at Naharup Eco Garden Road as a solidarity to her.
“She’s like the inspiration for millions of children of their generations,” Delhi protester Sahil Kaushar, 24, said, highlighting the leadership role of young people in the international movement to reduce consumption of fossil fuels.
“Air pollution is not a joke. It will choke you,” read a poster held by a teenager. “Make love, not CO2” signs were spotted in the protests.
Global warming caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels has already led to droughts and heat waves, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and floods, according to scientists.
“There is no Planet B,” read a sign hoisted by a young woman in India Gate.
Licypriya also will participate in the demonstration of the biggest rural climate strike in Odisha on 25th October with over 30,000 indigenous tribal people of Gajapati district. She is one of the youngest green activists of the World.
Licypriya is a Grade II student of KiiT International School, Bhubaneswar. She become school dropouts since February 2019 to protest every week in front of the Parliament House of India, New Delhi to call on world leaders to take immediate climate action to save their future and the planet.
Licypriya was recently bestowed with the title “Rising Star” by Earth Day Network based in Washington DC, USA and also won several prestigious awards including World Children Peace Prize 2019, India Peace Prize 2019, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Children Award 2019, etc. for her activism and contributions on the global climate change movement in early young age since 7 years old.
She is also often called as “India’s Greta Thunberg”, “Climate Warrior of The East” and “Child Wonder”, etc. by several national and international media. She organised the biggest climate strike in the history of Africa to wake up African leaders in Luanda City of Angola on 22nd September 2019 with more than 50,000 of her supporters.