Yugratna Srivastav, a 13-year-old girl from Lucknow has addressed the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York. Yugratna’s speech was cheered on by world leaders including UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon. “It was a very great experience for me because now actually I feel I’m one in a million who gets an opportunity to speak. I also met several heads of state and I was sitting next to Al Gore,” said Yugratna to CNN-IBN.
“World leaders must recognise the energy and potential which lies in children and youth. This age group is just like flowing rivers and they make their own way in the direction in which they march,” said Yugratna, a lively, committed and very passionate teenager.
Yugratna became sensitised to environmental protection in Grade 6 in St. Francis School in Shamli, India. It was there that she joined “Tarumitra” (Friends of Trees).
The non-governmental organization works hard to stop the felling of trees and forests, builds roadside gardens and cleans up garbage dumps, among other activities.
In 2008 Yugratna participated in the Tunza youth conference in Norway organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and became a member of the Junior Board. Tunza is the UNEP magazine for youth.
She is the first Indian child to ever get elected to the Junior Board and was invited again to participate in this year’s Tunza conference in Seoul.
When she is not in school, she is talking about climate change and environmental protection around India and abroad.
“For my generation in India, climate change means global warming, scarcity of food and drinking water and an outbreak of accentuated epidemics,” she added.
Her increasing environmental activism has brought her to the attention of UNEP and now to the world leading to her addressing the UN Summit in New York.