Today at COP26, around 500 parent groups from 44 countries came together to call on governments to end to all new fossil fuel investments, for the health of children and the future of the planet.
The morning begun with a delegation of mothers led by Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah from the UK, delivering a hard-hitting letter to COP26 President, Alok Sharma MP who was joined by his wife and daughter. Read the letter. Afterwards, there was a panel discussion in the New York Times Climate Hub followed by a press conference.
Speaking to an audience of journalists and activists, Kamila Kadzidlowska from Rodzice Dla Klimatu in Poland said:
“I am here because my children are too young to fight for their health and their future. Policy-makers aren’t taking it seriously and we’re accepting them leading us into destruction. We are not going to make any future for our children if we continue burning fossil fuels.”
Mariana Menezes from the Brazilian, Familias Pelo Clima, Marianna Menezes echoed this call for a “world without fossil fuels”. “If today’s leaders don’t have the courage for the radical change we need, it’s up to us, the people, to put new leaders in power, for our children.”
Bhavreen Khandhari, founder of Warrior Moms in India described how parents around the world have been mobilised “to say no to fossil fuels”. “I am a mother” she said, “and I care for my children and their health. Politicians and policy-makers – they are also parents. We are the same.”
Amuche Nnabueze of Parents For Future said: “We are coming together to say we can have it better. Leave fossil fuels where they belong – in the ground.”
Emphasising the urgency of the issue, South African Xoli Fuyani from Our Kids’ Climate said “the commitments can’t be ten years down the line. We need action now. Children right now are taking their last breaths because of the toxins from fossil fuels.”
Jemima Hartshorn from the UK’s Mums for Lungs group suggested that Governments didn’t want to take action for fear of ‘losing votes’, but pointed to their campaign as an example of strong public support for the ending of fossil fuel burning.
Calling for governments to adopt the new WHO guidelines on air quality, Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah warned: “Time’s up everyone. Governments have a duty of care to their citizens. Do not look at us with pity, we want you to take us seriously.”
Clean Air Fund’s Jane Burston applauded the parents who had taken part for their actions for their “unswerving dedication to making sure that every child can breathe clean air”, adding: “They will not stop until that happens.”
Blog photos credit: Oli Goulden