We can all take action to transform our environments

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Illustration of Francisco in a forest surrounded by a bear, a goat, a cat. The bear is holding a placard with an illustration of the Earth.

My name is Francisco, I am 14 years old and I was born in Colombia. I live in Spain and I am an activist and defender of the human right to a healthy, clean and dignified environment. I lead a movement of children and adolescents who mobilize for climate justice and peace with nature. I am also a UNICEF Youth Climate Action Advocate and a speaker on various issues. 

When I am not advocating or mobilizing for human rights, I like to dive in the Mediterranean Sea, do my schoolwork, spend time with my friends, and go to the book club at the library in my city. I have many projects that I carry out with my colleagues from my organization, Guardianes por la Vida. 

One of the things that makes me feel most proud is knowing that the work I do for children's voices to be heard has achieved results and that it has motivated many boys and girls to do the same. My inspiration is precisely my fellow activists, who from Latin America and some places in Europe face the challenge of being heard in a deeply adult-centric society. 

The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges we face as a species but also as a generation. The increase in temperatures puts our present and future and the possibility of exercising our rights at risk, so it is vital that what is happening in the world is understood. That's why I wrote a book called: “Pregúntale a Francisco: ¿Qué es el cambio climático?” (Spanish for "Ask Francisco: What is climate change?", and I promote climate and citizen education projects in Colombia and Spain. 

The climate crisis is related to the safety of children but also to the rights we have, because if there are no adaptation and mitigation plans for climate change we are going to have very serious problems such as difficulties in access to education, potable water and basic sanitation. That is why it is necessary that climate action be taken now, and that we defend our right to inhabit a healthy, clean and dignified planet. 

When I do advocacy and climate education, I seek that governments generate policies for life, that they think that their actions have an impact on people's daily lives, on their dreams and on the possibility of living in decent conditions. 

Finally, I claim the right that we, boys and girls, and in general all people, have to eco-hope, as an eco-hope that mobilizes us to take action and defend life and that turns indignation into action. 

My message to children and young people is that no matter how old we are, where we are from or where we are, we can all take action to transform our environments not only with respect to the climate, but also to address all the challenges we have as a generation. 

 

Read this blog in Spanish

 

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“My message to children and young people is that no  matter how old we are, where are from, or where we are, we can all take action to transform our environments.” Francisco,  UNICEF Youth Advocate for Latin America and the Caribbean
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