16-year-old educatesthousands ofchildren inIndia to advocatefor environmentalrights

My name is Kartik and I am a member of Child Advisory Team for General Comment 26 from the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. As a child rights activist and former ambassador to Global Conscious World and Global Youth Peace Accord, I have been running campaigns across my region to raise awareness on climate change and child rights.

Planting seeds of hope for a better future

For a project to succeed, there needs to be teamwork, dedication and coordination. I am working with a team of 6 young volunteers in India to educate children and young people on their environmental rights and General Comment 26. We represent unique geographical areas. I am from Uttar Pradesh, a state with snowy peaks of the Himalayas; Jaspreet Kaur is from Punjab, a state with fresh farms all around; Anand Jha from Bihar, Shraddha; Suman Jena from Chattisgarh; Sarthik Pathak and Zosha Khan from Maharashtra; and Soumya Barigidad from Karnataka where a treasure of lush green trees of Western Ghats and wild waters of Arabian Sea can be found. With this exceptional diversity, the team members are pioneers in their own fields thus making the task of raising awareness of General Comment 26 with other children and young people very holistic. As a team, our main aim is to connect with as many children as possible by holding virtual and physical workshops in our communities. We believe that children and youth are the future and educating them is exceedingly necessary.

So far, I have organized offline workshops and awareness-raising events across villages in Uttar Pradesh. In the workshops, we educated thousands of children on various topics including global warming, climate change, regional geography which encouraged them to analyze their surrounding environment, create solutions and make decisions. From reducing the use of plastic bags to planting a sapling on their birthdays, children were taught to act in every way possible to combat climate change. Being inquisitive learners, many of the children were keen to learn and act on their new knowledge.

I believe that when children get to know the importance of Earth and nature in our lives, they leave no stone unturned in reversing climate change. I feel that it is so important to raise awareness of General Comment 26 as it is one of our last hopes to save the lives of the billions of children growing up today, and children in the future.

Find out more about the Children’s Advisory Team for General Comment 26 and how children and young people can have their say in the global consultations. You can also write to Katie Reid to learn more about children’s participation in General Comment No. 26: k.reid@tdh.de

Kartik Verma is a Child Advisor to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for General Comment No. 26.