Young environmental activists tell their story at UN children’s conference

17 June 2008 – A young Australian filmmaker and an Indian child combating water waste are among the 700 children from over 100 countries that are sharing their stories on how to create a better, healthier planet at a United Nations environment conference in Norway.

The biannual Tunza International Children’s Conference, organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with the Norwegian NGO Young Agenda 21, and with Bayer AG as one of the main sponsors, began today in Stavanger.

One of the largest global children’s conferences in the world, the weeklong gathering brings together children between the ages of 10 and 14 who are engaged in environmental issues, aiming to increase their awareness and equip them with skills to promote environmental projects in their communities.

“The 700 children attending the Tunza Conference are a powerful sign of the creativity, energy and dynamism that children are capable of to protect our planet,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“We can all learn from them, and we should all take heart in the fact that increasing numbers of children are becoming a force for positive change as we move towards greener lifestyles,” he added. In addition to presenting environmental projects, participants will go on field trips and learn about energy, climate change and fair trade, as well as plant trees in support of UNEP’s Seven Billion Tree Campaign. They will also learn about becoming an eco-journalist, photographing the environment and planning practical environmental projects.

This year, in partnership with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UNEP will highlight the initiatives of dozens of young activists through “My Story” – a series of short video clips that will be posted at www.unep.org.

Among the stories are those of a 13 year old in Australia who is making a documentary called “A Kid’s Guide to Climate Change,” for which he interviewed a local indigenous leader, visited a wind farm and a wave generator, and built a model solar car.

Other examples include a 14 year old in India who is campaigning against water waste in his community, a 13 year old in Cameroon who is running clean-up campaigns and tree plantings, and a 13 year old in the United States who has helped organize a recycling drive and collected 100,000 pounds of e-waste.

This is the seventh edition of UNEP’s Tunza International Children’s Conference, which has encouraged hundreds of children in recent years to take action on environmental issues.


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