“A vegan meal a day keeps the climate change away” was written on one of the posters climate activists held on Saturday as they marched through Milan, where world leaders met for the pre-COP26 summit.
Thousands of climate activists from all over Italy marched through Milan, calling on policymakers to match words with action during a year that has seen record-breaking heatwaves, floods, and fires.
“I’m here because a few weeks ago, not so long ago, I started to understand the importance of our planet and the fact that the climate is changing”, 13-year-old activist Lea Sagliaschi told Reuters.
“I do my part every day, and we should all do our part for the planet, but that’s not enough. We have to make governments understand that they have to do something, not just talk a lot and do nothing,” she added.
The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit is the next United Nations (UN) climate change conference in Glasgow. Nearly 200 countries will discuss the current climate crisis.
“I am here because in these days in Milan, there is the pre-COP, and the world leaders have met to discuss the policies to face the climate crisis. But they are not listening to us, young people, and to us people in general. And we want them to listen,” climate activist Laura Vallaro said.
And not only young people are angry. “I’m here because I’m almost 70 years old, I’ve been fighting for decades, and these guys give me hope that these struggles can continue”, activist Pippo Tadolini said.
COP26 President Alok Sharma said there was renewed urgency in the climate debate. “We had a very constructive set of discussions, and there was a real sense of urgency in the room,” he told reporters after the meeting in Italy’s financial capital.
“The energy that came forward from the (youth) did galvanise the ministers,” Sharma said. “As we go forward in the next few weeks and into the COP, we must always keep (their) voices … in our minds.”
The climate conference will be held in Glasgow from 1-12 November 2021.
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