Children's Champions Perla, Stuart and Leila meet Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal
Green & Bow . © UNICEF UK
Climate change is an issue I’ve always wanted to campaign on - it is such an obvious problem which threatens the future of our (and many other) species. Campaigning can generate the political will needed to take meaningful action to halt runaway climate change, and to protect people already suffering from its effects.
Children in some of the world’s poorest countries are least responsible for climate change; they had nothing to do with the carbon dioxide that’s been released into the atmosphere over the last couple of decades. Yet, sadly these children are most vulnerable to the floods, droughts and food shortages caused and exacerbated by the changing climate.
Our Speak up for Children campaign called for the UK Government to protect children from the effects of climate change – and they heard us! Thousands of our amazing campaigners signed the petition, which we delivered to climate change Minister Ed Davey last year. Hundreds more supporters emailed their MPs, and for the first time our network of Children’s Champions took our message to their MPs in person.
All our hard work paid off - in just a few months, we managed to make major progress on 3 fronts:
- In December 2012, the UK Government announced £1.8 billion more from the aid budget to be used to protect people from the impacts of climate change, and to move to a low carbon economy.
- Policy advisers from the Labour and Conservative parties started looking into sources of new money for the Green Climate Fund.
- Ed Davey has started to talk about climate change in terms of its impact on children, which he never did before.
“In reality, those who deny climate change and demand a halt to emissions reduction and mitigation work, want us to take a huge gamble with the future of every human being on the planet, every future human being, our children and grand children, and every other living species.” Rt Hon Edward Davey, 12th February 2013
Change takes time – we didn't achieve everything we wanted in just a few months, so we’ll be working throughout 2013 and beyond to ensure children have a world fit to live in, where their rights are protected.
But we did manage to achieve a lot in a short space of time. It goes to show what a group of dedicated campaigners can achieve if we work together! If you want to join us to campaign right now, please support our work on the IF campaign, to make 2013 the beginning of the end of hunger.
Natasha Adams is Activism Officer for UNICEF UK.