Eight-year-old Licypriya Kangujam, the youngest green activist from Manipur, believes if each person plants a tree, we could save the Earth. In conversation with Brainfeed, Licypriya Kangujam shares her journey.
Q. Could you brief us about your journey as a climate activist so far?
I accompanied my father, a local activist, to various international conferences, meetings, seminars and workshops. In July 2018, I got an opportunity to attend the Third Asia Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risks Reduction 2018 (AMCDRR 2018) in Mongolia. I met many great leaders and also thousands of delegates from various countries around the World.
I attended World Youth Conference 2016, South Asian Youth Summit in 2017 as a part of my campaign. Thereafter I started an organization called “The Child Movement” on July 10, 2018.
My first parliament strike was on February 2, 2019. Since February 2019, at Parliament House of India, I am requesting our Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi and our MPs to pass the climate change law from the paper to become action. It will bring accountability and transparency to the government. I dropped out my of school on February 2019 due to my protests every week in the parliament house.
Q. You have travelled over 32 countries and planted more than 51,000 trees in the last few years. Can you elaborate on this experience?
Planting trees has becomes a hobby since my early childhood. I prefer planting fruit trees instead of just a normal tree. Fruit trees can change a life by creating a source of income to poor farmers and alleviate poverty besides helping in absorbing carbon dioxide. Even one tree planted per individual can cool down earth temperatures making our planet green again.
Q. SUKIFU is hauntingly meaningful in the wake of rising pollution levels. What is SUKIFU?
The symbolic device called SuKIFu (Survival Kit for the Future) was launched on October 4, 2019 to curb air pollution. SuKIFu is almost a zero budget kit designed from trash to provide fresh air into our body. Anybody can build up this concept at home from the recycling trash to provide fresh air into our lungs.
In SuKIFu, a potted plant is housed inside a clear backpack hooked up to one tube to funnel fresh air into a face mask. The transparent rucksack contains a plant, which connects to breathing apparatus. Another hole in the downside supplies the natural fresh air inside the tank through four layers of activated carbon. The plant symbolises planet. No chemicals or electricity is used inside this device.
Q. What is Green Olympic Games initiative?
Green Olympic Game is an initiative taken by me to transform Olympic game into a green, sustainable and carbon neutral competition. I first planned to launch it in the Tokyo Olympic Game 2020 from July 27 to August 8 in Japan.
The five main charters of Green Olympic Game are:
- Host Country (Japan Government) to calculate and offset all emissions associated with the organizing and running the Olympics.
- All transportation to and from the Olympic facilities to be emissions-free.
- Each Olympic athlete to be given the chance to plant a tree (which means total 10,000 tress).
- No single used plastics will be allowed at any of the venues.
- Using of drone display, laser and sound light show only instead fireworks show in the opening and closing ceremony of Olympics.
Q. What is the idea behind Child Movement? Do you see the emergence of more child activists in the coming years?
Child Movement is a voluntary global movement for children founded by me in 2018 to raise our voice on the climate issue. We mainly focus on climate justice and child rights. Yes, I saw many school children turning up as a Climate Activist, taking inspiration from me and the other young global leaders.
I have three major demands:
Firstly, I want our government to enact the climate law so that we can regulate the carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases. This will benefit millions of poor people daily exposed to pollution and pitfalls of climate changes.
Secondly, I demand for inclusion of Climate Change as a compulsory subject in our school education curriculum. This will help to fight the climate change from the grassroots and educate our leaders about climate who still cannot believe that climate change is real.
Thirdly, minimum ten tree plantations for all students of India to pass the final exam. In India, we have 350 million students. If 350 million students plant at least 10 trees every year then we will plant 3.5 billion trees a year.
Trust me, India will be green in five years!
India’s vast population means that even small increase in emissions per person add up to a huge amount of carbon dioxide and India is likely to become the world’s biggest polluter. Unless we add Climate Change to school syllabi, we will fail our planet big time.