SURVIVAL FOR THE FUTURE: INTERVIEW WITH CLIMATE ACTIVIST LICYPRITA KANGUJAM.

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Author: Indu Pandey
Date: Wntr 2021
From: Harvard International Review(Vol. 42, Issue 1)
Publisher: Harvard International Relations Council, Inc.
Document Type: Interview
Length: 2,897 words
Lexile Measure: 1150L

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Licypriya Kangujam is an Indigenous climate activist from India. At nine years old, she spoke at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP25) in 2019 and traveled around the world to speak at climate and international conferences. Kangujam is a World Children Peace Prize recipient, recognized for her clean air initiatives and protests against the Indian government.

You're the HIR's youngest interviewee ever at 9 years old. How did you get your start in climate advocacy?

Thank you so much for this opportunity. I'm glad to hear that I'm the youngest interviewee in your history.

I was born in a small village of Manipur in North East India surrounded by lush green mountains and an alluring atmosphere. I never realized what I'm doing is activism until 2018 when people started calling me a climate activist. In 2016,1 came to Delhi for the first time for my schooling, but my life became very messy due to the high air pollution level. Later, I moved to Bhubaneswar, Odisha, in the same year for my schooling. Again my home in Odisha was hit by Cyclone Titli in 2018 and Cyclone Fani in 2019. These incidences in my life turned me into an outspoken child that talks about the impact of climate change to our leaders when they failed to act on it.

The Nepal Earthquake of 2015 is also an important event in my life. During that time, I accompanied my dad to raise funds to help the victims' children and families. That was the first time that I learned the words "climate change" and "natural disasters," but I couldn't realize what exactly they were as I was a small baby that time. But, this could be the main reason why I am so concerned about the environment and our planet.

My father did his Masters in Environmental Studies in Nalanda International University. He frequently talked to me about various environmental issues happening everyday around the world. It also helps me to learn and understand many things about the environment and climate change. Unfortunately, he couldn't complete his degree in the university, but he wishes for me to love and be concerned about our nature and our environment.

In July 2018, when I was just six years old, I got an opportunity to attend the United Nations Disaster Conference in Mongolia. It was a life changing event.

Just after I returned back home from Mongolia, I started my organization called "The Child Movement" in July, 2018 to call on world leaders to take immediate climate action to save our planet and our future. It has now become a people's movement for climate justice in India and various other countries.

My first parliament protest was on February 2, 2019. I have my three main demands to our leaders and the Government to change the system: to pass the climate change law in the parliament as soon as possible, to make climate education compulsory in every school in India, and to ensure plantations of minimum of...

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