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:
I’m happy to announce that I’m a junior editor of an international online journal for and by youth.
Harmony was launched in the UN’s COP26 climate change events in Glasgow on November 6, 2021. This online journal was built on special links that the youth created during the global pandemic lockdowns. They hosted a series of short online tutorials with professors and heads of institutes from world-class universities to inspire young people that were left stranded by COVID-19 school closures.
I’ll be chairing Free Online Eco-Seminar Mini-Series for Students – Register Now!
Together with the Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative, the Cambridge Schools Eco-Council has been organising a mini-series of free 60 minute Online Eco-Seminars to raise awareness of key sustainability challenges and solutions, while schools have been forced online in many countries. Children, students, families and members of the public can register for free over Eventbrite and participate online over Zoom, 4:30-5:30pm (UK time) on 17 February and 24 February.
Eco-Seminar 1: Saving our Steams and Rivers through Sustainable Water Management – Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Focus: How can we better protect and sustainably manage our beautiful freshwater resources, preventing floods and depletion, and saving our streams and rivers?
Chairs:Nico Roman (Cambridge Schools Eco-Council Co-Chair, Voices of Future Generations Child Ambassador, Kings College School Eco-Society Co-leader) and Paloma Bargh (Cambridge Schools Eco-Council Deputy Chair and Eco-Activities Committee Co-Chair, Saint Johns College School Eco-Society Co-leader)
Speakers: Child author speaker: Rehema Kibugi (Gold Award Laureate, Voices of Future Generations (VoFG) Children’s Rights Initiative, Child Author for Africa) tbc Ecocouncil speaker: Junayd Islam (Cambridge Schools Eco-Council former Co-Chair, key organizer of student climate strikes and city council livestreamed Eco-Council meetings). Experts: Ian Halls (Leader, Cambridge Friends of the Earth) and Fabiana Piccoli Araújo Santos (LLM Candidate at the University of Cambridge and co-founder of Itacaré Water Caring Project Brazil)
Eco-Seminar 2: Promoting Sustainable Lifestyles through Preventing Plastic Waste – Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Focus: How can we better promote and practice more sustainable lifestyles at home and through our shopping habits, even during lockdown, preventing plastic waste and protecting our fragile rivers, oceans and ecology?
Chairs: Nico Roman(Cambridge Schools Eco-Council Co-Chair, Voices of Future Generations Child Ambassador, Kings College School Eco-Society Co-leader) and Ginny Denmead (Cambridge Schools Eco-Council Co-Chair and St Bedes College School Eco-Society Co-leader)
Speakers: Child author speaker: Freya Tikva (Gold Award Laureate, Voices of Future Generations (VoFG) Children’s Rights Initiative Child Author for Europe, Cambridge Schools Eco-Council Deputy Chair and Co-Chair of Eco-Activities Committee. Ecocouncil speaker: Luana Fernandes Seixas (Cambridge Schools Eco-Council Communications Officer, Student Leader of Long Road Sixth Form Eco-Council, key organizer of student climate strikes and eco-seminars). Experts: Emma Thomas (Co-founder and Director, Full Circle Zero Waste Retail, Ecologist) and Ben Thomas (Environment Manager, Cambridge Waitrose Grocery Store) Over zoom, after a 15 mins for tech testing and interactions from 4:15pm to 4:30pm, student Eco-Councillors and UN Voices of Future Generations child authors / ambassadors, together with world-class experts, will provide a 20-minute introduction to a sustainability challenge, and discuss creative local and solutions. For a further 30 minutes, participants can ask questions and discuss potential solutions and ways to raise education and awareness interactively, followed by a 10-minute closing from the experts and youth speakers by 5:30pm.
Thank you, Voices of Future Generations Arabia, for this brilliant opportunity. In this blog, I would like to argue in favour of empowering children’s voices and quality education – SDG 4 & SDG 17, as I did in May during a symposium with over 1000 online participants.
My name is Nico, I am 11 and go to Kings College School in Cambridge. I am a UN Child Ambassador for the SDGs, and as part of this commitment I also edit an online blog – Nico’s Natural World – with over 9000 impressions, and hundreds of followers. Please come and visit it some time.
It is time that we all stand up for our children’s rights – as reflected in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), especially Articles 24 and 29 that promise us a healthy environment and education about nature, and also Articles 12 to 13 that guarantee us a voice in decisions that concern us.
Our future, and the futures of all species on Earth, concern us! They really do!
I might be only a small child, but I know that advancing the world’s SDGs, especially SDG 13 on Climate Action and SDG 15 to Protect Life on Land, makes the difference between a terrible global nightmare, and the future we want.
Even as our whole world is locked in frightening quarantines and curfews from the global COVID-19 pandemic, we can and must still speak out for our Earth, and for future generations of all species.
Climate change and biodiversity loss are real, dangerous and urgent.
As children, we are trying very hard to be heard, locally and globally, to stop the suffering and losses from getting even worse.
Even though we cannot vote, as children we already face the consequences of terrible climate change worldwide, including new viruses emerging, and old diseases returning, with impacts on our health and on the safely of everyone we love.
And we will face far, far worse in the future.
Currently, some decision-makers are doing the exact opposite,
backing up failing aviation and oil industries, which are causing the problem!
This is horribly unfair – it is a violation of climate justice!
The CRC promises us a healthy environment and this right means that willful destruction of natural habitats, without any regard for the plants and animals, nor for all future generations… just needs to stop.
We live in a climate emergency, and it will get worse if we can’t all work together, rather than re-starting all the harmful practices, and calling it recovery!
We also live in a biodiversity emergency, with thousands of species already lost, and many more at risk of going extinct forever—unless we all help to protect nature recovery when we plan economic recovery!
We must make sure our leaders tackle the climate and biodiversity crises with the same strength and unity they have shown us with the novel coronavirus pandemic, instead of ignoring it until everything is just too late!
If we want to make a difference, we must scale up our understanding, our education and our voices!
We need new guardian laws, institutions and networks.
The world after the COVID-19 pandemic needs to take children’s fears and interests much more seriously.
I am pleading for every single leader, including everyone reading online, to help us find new ways to stop the urgent threats of climate change and biodiversity loss, just as you promised in the SDGs.
Our rights are being directly infringed by current policies, laws and decisions – locally, nationally and internationally.
Even the smallest child CAN make a BIG difference, towards a more sustainable world for us all.
Voice of Nico Roman
Nico Roman (11), UN Child Ambassador for the SDGs, Voices of Future Generations Children’s Rights Initiative; Co-Chair, Cambridge Schools Eco-Council & YR6 Student, King’s College School (Cambridge)
These strikes raise awareness and put pressure on the government to take action. Times are so desperate that we as children are having to leave school for people to listen and take action. Each strike has a different theme. Show your support by performing a speech, make a placard or in any other artistic way.
During quarantine we have been doing online strikes. For this we ask you to send in a photo for the collage to be posted on our social medias and here on the website. Speeches, songs and other artistic expressions are also welcomed. You can send any submissions to our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cambridge Schools Eco-Councilis organising a mini-series of free 60 minute Online Eco-Seminars to raise awareness of key sustainability challenges and solutions, while schools have been forced online in many countries. Children, students, families and members of the public can register for free over Eventbrite and participate online over Zoom, 4-5pm (UK time) each fortnight from Tuesday 21 April to Tuesday 16 June. Each Online Eco-Seminar focuses on a key sustainable development goal, such as Climate Action (SDG 13), Protecting and Restoring Life on Land (SDG 15) or Agriculture and Food Systems (SDG 2). Each Online Eco-Seminar includes student and expert speakers.
Over zoom, after a 15 mins for tech testing and interactions from 3:45pm to 4pm, student Eco-Councillors and UN Voices of Future Generations child authors / ambassadors, together with world-class experts, will provide a 25-minute introduction to a sustainability challenge, and discuss creative local and solutions. For a further 25 minutes, participants can ask questions and discuss potential solutions and ways to raise education and awareness interactively, followed by a 10-minute closing from the experts and youth speakers by 5pm.
We have raised our voices internationally to ask for climate action, and as we continue protesting online (for the time being). We are also doing it locally, ‘we’ the Cambridge Schools Eco-Council are also protesting to save the River Cam and reduce climate impacts on waterways.
Currently, the river Cam is at 77% less than its long-term average flow for the last year, according to the Environment Agency. This is primarily due to over-abstraction of water from the chalk hills for domestic use. Our tap water mostly comes from the eastern chalk aquifer and we don’t have another source of water. The Cam may seem like it is completely fine and healthy but it is far from it. This is an illusion of how canalised the river is.
“The illusion is perpetuated by putting water back into the headwaters of the streams in the summer to keep those streams running because they have taken so much water out of the chalk.”
Stephen Tomkins, Chair of Cam Valley Forum
“Our rivers and streams are really important – the Cam is the reason for our city, Cambridge. Climate change, together with poorly planned growth, could devastate our water ecosystems, costing us our present and our future. We are speaking out to defend our river.”
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.