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William 's Letter
Dear future self,
I hope that the world is at ease and that the worries and troubles that you and your generation faced as young people have been lost to a bygone age.
I write this after the COP27 climate summit in 2022 where world leaders descended on Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, apparently determined to mitigate the effects of climate change. But, as expected, their determination did not materialise when they yet again failed to reach any formal agreement to phase out fossil fuels. Right now, it feels like nobody with the power to act cares.
This year 75% of young people in the UK said that they wanted our government to take stronger action on the climate and inequality crisis. But when they treat onshore wind farms with suspicion and when they fail to meet their fair share of international climate finance commitments, their outlook is palpable: they’re really just not fussed about the planet’s future.
Children will be the most affected when the crisis starts to take a toll. As I write this, young people are already reporting that climate change is affecting their mental health. Children will lose out on formal schooling when they are forced to flee their homes because of severe weather. They will suffer severe trauma caused by the relentless infernos of the prolonged wildfire season. And crucially, they will lose out on their childhoods.
So, if when you’re reading this, the world does happen to be in the midst of a climate catastrophe, let it be known to children everywhere, that their childhoods could have been saved if the leaders of your youth had acted with courage, compassion, and decency. Remember: don’t fear for children’s futures, fight for them.
William Grunstein, Aged 16
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