CLIMATE CHANGE

Act, children will not eat words, Kenya's Wathuti tells COP26

Kenyan holds a minute of "compassionate silence" for those who have lost their lives due to the climate crisis.

In Summary

• Wathuti told the world leaders that millions of Kenyans are facing climate-related starvation due to the inaction by governments across the world.

• "Meanwhile, our rivers run dry, our harvests failing; our animals and people dying," Wathuti said.

Kenya's environmental activist Elizabeth Wathuti
Kenya's environmental activist Elizabeth Wathuti

Kenya's environmental advocate Elizabeth Wathuti has challenged global leaders to take action against climate change.

Speaking at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) on Monday, Wathuti, 26, told world leaders that children and young people are waiting for them to act.

"Every day we learn that if we take care of the trees, they take care of us. The children cannot live on words and empty promises. They are waiting for you to act. Please open your hearts," the activist said.

In an emotional speech at the close of the opening ceremony, Wathuti asked the world leaders to take a minute of "compassionate silence" for those who have lost their lives due to the climate crisis.

Wathuti told the world leaders that millions of Kenyans are facing climate-related starvation due to the inaction by governments across the world.

"In this past year, both of our rainy seasons have failed. Scientists say it may be 12 months until the rains return again. Meanwhile, our rivers run dry, our harvests failing; our animals and people dying," Wathuti said.

She added; "Please open your hearts. If you allow yourself to feel it, the heartbreak and pain is hard to bear. Please open your hearts."

Wathuti told COP26 that inaction on the climate crisis was leading to undue suffering for millions of children in Africa.

"I have seen with my own eyes three young children crying at the side of a dried-up river after walking 12 miles with their mother to find water," she says.

 

Edited by CM