On Sunday, June 12, 2022, I joined the Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative to host a virtual storytime as part of the Festival of Nature.
The Festival of Nature is the UK’s largest free celebration of the natural world. (We) Children from around the globe took the audience on a magical journey by sharing our stories, hopes, dreams and vision for a sustainable world.
I was the speaker who opened up the event for the VoFG CI delegation, then Child Authors followed.
If you missed it or want to watch it again here is the video:
Interview by Kings College School Cambridge (to read the full interviewclick here)
Why was it important for you to visit COP26?
Nico: We wanted to attend COP26 for several reasons; firstly, it was a great opportunity for us to learn much more about climate change and what we can do to play our part in combating it. It was also especially important for us to attend as the event was in Scotland which made it easy to get to but also because we wanted to represent. One of our other main objectives was to build connections within the community. Thomas: We were very grateful to be invited to contribute to COP26 and represent young people. It was a great opportunity for us to both learn and share ideas. We were pleased that we were able to meet so many people from all over the globe and also speak with various organisations.
What did you do whilst you were there?
Nico: We arrived on Friday but Saturday was the main day of activities. In the morning we went to the “Green Zone” where we were able to check out lots of interesting climate focused experiments and witness the operations that different organisations are doing to help the climate cause. Some of the main highlights for me were seeing the ”eco-choir”, who have sung in different competitions, and WWF presentation (World Wide Fund for Nature) who spoke about the importance of marshes and wetlands eco systems.
The Green Zone was actually housed in a Science Museum so were able to see the COP26 events along with the normal exhibits which we enjoyed. We were also invited to be part of the launch of a youth-led journal called “Harmony”. The journal will include youth views on science, law and sustainability solutions. This comprised 5 University students, 8 young people, and several other youth campaigners online from across the world including Canada, Kenya, Taiwan, England and France.
Thomas: We really enjoyed listening to the eco-choir who spoke about what children can do to solve climate problems and this was really interesting and informative. We also saw some fascinating displays about polar regions melting and the effects that would have. We were able to go inside a cool jungle which was essentially a view of the future that nature had “taken back”. It was a really interactive and visually immersive experience. We were excited to launch the “Harmony” journal which will be a seasonal online publication with many different organisations contributing, such as WWF and various other youth-led organisations. We also met a Tik Tok influencer called Cam Whitehall, who campaigns a lot about climate and conservation and he was very interested to help with the journal which is great because he has many young followers.
What do you hope COP26 will achieve?
Nico: I was excited when they announced the reforestation commitment which aims to restore most or all forests by 2030. This was signed by several countries including Brazil and Australia. As a result, 85% of the world’s forests are going to be protected and reforested. I’m also keen to see what they’re going to do with the funds they’ve recently acquired in the area of reforestation to help deal with climate change.
Thomas: I hope they’ll be able to pledge to protect the world’s wetlands as this is very important in the journey to slowing climate change. The world’s woodlands, fens but also mangroves are vitally important both to nature and conservation so I am interested to see what commitments are made to these areas. I am also hoping they make progress on protecting the Arctic and that they agree pledges and funds to protect these regions.
What’s next for you?
Nico: I am looking forward to working towards the goals with the Harmony journal – I’m keen to start distributing the first copy, I would love for it to get a big following and grow a community. Next steps are also going to be continuing to work with the main youth organisations throughout the world to continue to create a community of people who understand and can help climate change.
Thomas: I’m also looking forward to launching the Harmony journal as a means to spread awareness – there is no time left to leave this to tomorrow – the world’s leaders need to start tackling the situation more urgently today. The more people know about climate change and the more they can educate themselves, the more we can all make a difference together.
The river Cam has been flowing at only 33% of its long term average, according to the Environment Agency. Cambridgeshire’s source of water, the Chalk Hills are running out of water largely due to abstraction beyond what the River itself needs. We as Cambridge Youth Strikers 4 Climate are starting this petition demanding action be taken.
Cambridge’s tap water comes from the Eastern Chalk Aquifer, fed by the chalk streams and filtered naturally by the local chalk hills. We have no other source of water here. Hotter summers are possibly drying the chalk out more. So through climate change and unsustainable abstraction by water companies, with complacency from the Cambridgeshire Country Council and the Cambridge City Council, our Chalk Hills are losing their natural reservoir.
We call upon Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and water companies (Anglian Water, Cambridge Water and others) to suspend all developments on the Eastern Chalk Aquifer and hold immediate talks between themselves to find an alternative to damaging the chalk streams through over abstraction.
This is not just about preserving drinking water for our human population. The chalk streams are a beautiful natural phenomena, unique to our countryside; in fact 85% of the world’s Chalk streams are found in England. This makes it all the more heartbreaking to see chalk rivers like the River Cam deteriorate under our management.
If you’re a Cambridge citizen, you may not realise how bad river flow is due to how canalised the Cam is. Controlled tightly by locks, damns and weirs the river appears a lot higher than it actually is. But what can still be seen is how poor the water quality is. As Stephen Tomkins (Chairman of the Cam Valley Forum) says, the River Cam has become “a big pond, basically,”.
This is absolutely shameful. In one of the richest and most scientifically advanced cities in the world our renowned river has become “a big pond”. Our aquatic life, from mayflies to trout to otters, are living and dying in “a big pond”. We lecture nations across the world on their mistreatment of their environments and we let our own rivers degrade to nothing but “a big pond”.
Enough is enough, we need the Councils and Water companies to stop playing the defensive and show real leadership over this water crisis. Our well-being’s at stake, our population’s at stake, our rivers’ at stake, our ecosystem’s at stake. No more development until you find a solution!
Save the River Cam! Stop development on Eastern Chalk Aquifer!
We are sending you the Cambridge Schools Eco-Council’s open letter to schoolchildren around the world, especially in Australia, in hopes that you could pass it along. As you know, as part of the global strike, Cambridge children are marching this Friday, meeting at 9:30 at Shire Hall, to raise awareness and (on Valentine’s day) to show we care about the terrible impacts of climate change on children and wildlife who are already losing their homes and their lives, especially in Australia. Fires and floods are raging, and so are we!We’ll be carrying home-made art symbols of torches, smoke and fires, and also blue floodwaters, with us when we march, and over 30 children from different Cambridgeshire schools will be running through the march, wearing masks to speak for the koalas, kangaroos, wombats, wallabies and other unique, vulnerable and voiceless Australian animals who have been dying by the thousands in the bush fires due to climate change. Tomorrow we are also sending our Open Letter to the world’s schoolchildren who are also losing their homes, especially in Australia, as a plea to decision-makers everywhere to listen to the science and act now to stop this madness.
Thank you, Nico Roman (11, Kings College School, Cambridge), Co-Chair, Cambridge Schools Eco-Council
We are writing in support of all the school children, wildlife and everyone whose homes and lives are being lost by the ferocious fires and floods in Australia, and around the world. We feel it is terribly unjust to continue burning fossil fuels and carry on harming our future. As children, and as the first generation to be hit so hard by climate change, we need to look out for each other.
Right now, we can only imagine what it must be like to live with the fear that your own home may burn. We have been devastated by all the news and tragic losses to habitats and wildlife, and we are thinking of you every day and know that the same could so easily happen to us.
As pupils from over 30 local schools and voices of over 3000 local citizens in Cambridge, UK, together with you and other friends around the world who have marched together in the global climate days of action, we write in solidarity today.
We are desperately worried as our planet continues to heat up, and we carry on facing a worsening fate of extreme weather conditions. We are terrified that we are reaching the highest record level of CO2 in our atmosphere for roughly a million years. It is the responsibility of us all not only to reduce our carbon footprints urgently and immediately, but to become carbon neutral and then negative as soon as possible.
Our whole world is at stake. As Greta Thunberg from Sweden has said: “We do need hope, but the one thing that we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.” We may be geographically distant, but as kids terrified by the mess that bad decisions have got us all into, we stand right by your side.
Please could you pass this letter on to schoolchildren and members of the local press that you might know in Australia? A Cambridge news story is here, if they would like to know more:
“Even the smallest child can make a BIG difference!”
Nico (10 years-old)
Hello! and thank you for reading my blog.
If you are not familiar with the Youth Strike 4 Climate or my blog please read this and check my other posts.
I’m Nico Roman, but everybody calls me Nico. I’m in year 5 at King’s College School in Cambridge, UK. I’m Co-Chair of our Eco-Council (the first-ever Cambridge School Eco-Council in response to the threat of Climate Change on future generations) and a UNESCO Voices of Future Generations Child Ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On March 15, 2019 (the day of the Global Climate Strike) we started gathering at Shire Hall. At 10am, there were speakers from lots of different schools. Any school that wanted to send a speaker up did it!
“It was amazing to see hundreds, even thousands of us there.”
Then, at 10:30 – we marched. It was a longer march than last time (Feb 15, 2019), all along King’s Parade and through the city centre, down to St. Andrews Street, and up to the Guildhall.
The smallest children – including me 🙂 – were in front with the banners, everyone was awear of this – to keep a slow and steady pace – we are great at planning and organising! 😉
At 11:00, we were joined by some supportive University Students, and met at the Guildhall for some more speeches til 11:30am
We had some more skpeakers, one of them was my older brother Jona David, UN Child Author of a brilliant book on climate change (The Cosmic Climate Invention), and some brave kids from different schools demanding the world’s decision makers to take responsibility and solve this climate crisis.
And I also had a message to share with everyone – here is part of it:
“Even the smallest child can make a BIG difference!
Our new eco-council brings together pupils from schools all across Cambridge, to share our concerns, to cooperate, and to speak out!
We are hosting these Youth Strikes for our Climate in Cambridge, because we are petrified. We care about all the kids here locally and worldwide who will be hurt, or even die in typhoons, floods and droughts.
In school, we learn to be kind, to care for others, and to be responsible.
Destroying our whole planet is totally NOT ON.
Maybe our decision-makers need to go BACK TO SCHOOL.”
Nico (10), Co-Chair, Cambridge School Eco-Council and UN Child Ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
I was also interviewed by ITV News – to see other media coverage click here
Join us for April’s Friday for Future in Cambridge (or anywhere!)
Next School Strike for Climate Justice will be on April 12, 2019.
11.00 am – Meet at Shire Hall
11.15 am – Walk to King’s Parade
11.30 am – Lie-down at King’s College
Please wear blue, so it looks like Cambridge is flooding!
The lie-down will be for 11-minutes in front of King’s College to send a message about the floods that could drown the iconic town and University of Cambridge if climate change continues.
We will continue to march UNITED! on April 12 and many times after until we see Climate Justice!
We are going to change the fate of humanity! Are you part of this movement yet?
I’ve co-chaired a meeting for the first-ever schools eco-council!! this is our (children) response to the threat of climate change on future generations.
The Cambridge School Eco-Council held its inaugural meeting in the chapel at Michaelhouse Cafe on Saturday (March 9).
The establishment of the eco-council comes after the Schhol Strike on Friday (Feb 15) and ahead of the global school strike for climate on Friday (March 15). For the second time children across Cambridge walk out of school in a bid to speed up the political and economic response to the climate crisis.
We -Cambridge pupils- issued a ‘Declaration and Eco-Plan on the Climate Emergency’ this weekend which highlighted the drastic action now required to stabilise climate change.
“If we continue burning fossil fuels, building unsustainable infrastructure and degrading our environment, children like us all over the world will hurt or even die” and outlined action plans on three fronts:
– Schools: To educate about lifestyle choices, adopt an eco-code including “an eco-audit and act on all its recommendations, so that all schools are eco-schools”.
– Town & Country: To “commit to carbon neutrality well before 2030”, to “declare a local climate emergency and mean it”, “support local renewables” and impose carbon taxes “to be spent on carbon sequestration and climate change programmes”.
– Country: to “make national and international transport sustainable”, “stop fossil fuel subsidies”, “start energy rationing” and “change food and agriculture systems”.
A turquoise sea-turtle hatches beside
her siblings in their golden sandy nest. She blinks her jewel eyes. She is just
a baby – small, vulnerable and endangered. She has only one chance in 2,500 to
survive, a symbol for all life below water if we cannot change our ways. Like
sea-turtles, I have lived on Pacific and Atlantic coasts, swimming Baltic,
Salish and Caribbean seas. To save this TINY life and all ocean creatures, we
need real change, fast.
We Need Oceans Laws and Compliance
Overfishing and illegal fishing must stop. We need new international and national laws to end subsidies. People must only buy sustainably caught seafood (with escape hatches in nets preventing by-catch of turtles) and not endangered species. Waterproof cameras on boats should film tweets and blogs, making citizens act more responsibly. Coast guards, communities and kids can enforce laws on water and land. By law, people will look out for our tiny turtle as she escapes into the sea, starts her migration, and hunts for food to grow.
We Need a Global End to Ocean Rubbish
Dangerous chemicals are polluting our oceans with run-off from fertilizers and pesticides from the land, industrial chemicals, and untreated storm-water. Plastics are collecting in huge islands, hurting sea-turtles, whales and birds. We must end all harmful practices that drive ocean pollution, changing all agriculture and industry so it is clean and healthy. People must reduce, re-use and recycle all waste, cradle-to-grave, especially plastics. This way, pollution won’t poison or strangle our tiny turtle as she swims thousands of kilometres on her migration across the oceans.
We Need New Marine Plans, Protection and Measurement
There are not enough marine protected areas, and many are degraded. Ecosystems are threatened, like bleaching of coral. Climate change is causing serious impacts. Clear targets and plans must guarantee protection for all threatened marine ecosystems, respecting scientists and communities. Kids clubs and everyone can help, including tourists. With safe zones, and better measurement and on-ground action, we can ensure that our tiny turtle, and all her friends have a safe and resilient home. Our sea turtle, not so tiny now, can return to lay her own eggs in the sand. Her hatchlings will be protected, maybe by teams of children like me, as they start their own journeys.
Even the tiniest child can make a big difference for sea turtles, for our oceans and for our future.