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Lucknow girl to address world leaders on climate change

A 13-year-old girl from Lucknow, speaking on behalf of the world's three billion children, will address over a 100 world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama during a summit on the climate change here on Tuesday.

"I'm going to tell him (Obama) that the policies that they make today are going to affect us and if they act in present then they have secured the future for us," Yugratna Srivastava told PTI.

"We received a very nice planet from our ancestors. It was green, now we have damaged it, polluted it, and we're going to give a bad planet to our successors and this is not right," Ms. Srivastava, who is also on the youth advisory board of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)'s youth organisation called 'Tunza' (to nurture), added.

"Please listen to the voices of youth and children, and please try your best to solve all the environmental crises that are occurring in our community," is her message to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

The ninth class student of St. Fidelis College will be addressing more than a 100 world leaders at the General Assembly during the Climate Change Summit convened by the U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon. India will be represented by the Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

This summit is being held to mobilise political will ahead of the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, which is expected to yield a climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

"They (the world leaders) have to take into account the opinion of the three billion youths," Ms. Srivastava said.

"They can't exclude us so we are ready to help them and provide full support to them to have a green planet."

Commenting on the divide between the developed and developing world on the issue, Ms. Srivastava noted, "Each country should do its best since environmental problems never differentiate political or geographical boundaries."

"Whatever protocol they make, it should be an action oriented one and they should enforce them," she added.

The UNEP was very impressed with Ms. Srivastava's performance at a meeting in Daejeon, South Korea, which produced a youth statement on climate change on the road to Copenhagen. She was selected for Tunza after speaking at the high-level event through a competitive process.

The young environmentalist said that she was proud to represent India.

The conservationist recommends that everyone should save water, conserve electricity and plant trees. "The world will change only if each individual changes," she puts it simply.

On the web, Ms. Srivastava tweets urgent messages about saving the planet. While she is anxious about her big speech, the young leader is also glad to miss her exams in school.

"I'm pretty nervous but I'm also confident that I have the voice of three billion of the population that will reach them and they will have to act," she said.

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