“We have to think like adults because you cannot”
Leah Namugerwa, a young Ugandan climate activist, caught the attention of those present in her speech at the opening ceremony of COP-27, reminding that there is no more time for ‘big untouchable polluters’
By Graziella Albuquerque
Translation: Álvaro Samuel
Today we participated in the opening of COP-27. The ceremony was opened by the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah, and then the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, delivered an impactful speech:
“We are on a road to climate hell with our foot on the gas. […] Either we make a collective solidarity pact or a collective suicide pact.”
Some other important world representatives spoke at the ceremony: the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed, the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, the former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore, among others. But the highlight of the COP-27 opening ceremony was young Ugandan climate activist Leah Namugerwa, who is just 18 years old.
She is known for leading tree planting campaigns and starting a petition to enforce a ban on the use of plastic bags in Uganda. Also, following inspiration from Greta Thunberg, she started supporting school strikes in February 2019 with Fridays for Future Uganda.
Leah Namugerwa celebrated her 15th birthday by planting 200 trees instead of having a party, and she has since launched the Birthday Trees project, to distribute seedlings to those who wish to celebrate their birthdays by planting trees. Her main objective is to see the application of current climate legislation (Paris Agreement) and to attract more attention to climate issues.
“We teenagers, we have to think like adults because you don’t. It’s not fair that big polluters are untouchable… We have to face reality, the world is collapsing because of fossil fuels.” – Leah Namugerwa.
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