A CAMPAIGNING West Cork student has been chosen as the sole Irish voice at the first UN Youth Climate Action Summit in New York next month.
Alicia O’Sullivan, an 18-year-old student at Skibbereen Community School, was nominated by the Department of Foreign Affairs to attend the inaugural event on September 21st at the United Nations Headquarters.
About 600 youth climate activists from around the world will attend including Sweden’s climate activist Greta Thunberg. It will one of many events leading up the UN secretary general’s Climate Action Summit on Monday, September 23rd.
Alicia made headlines in June when she movingly addressed a prestigious climate conference in Cork where she was lauded by former US secretary of State John Kerry.
From the podium she told a crowd of over 700: ‘Most teenagers will worry about school, exams, relationships. But I am worried about something far greater – my future. And I am not alone, with 1.6m young people from all over 123 countries scared. We are scared that we will not have what you had.’
And quoting Greta Thunberg, she said: ‘I don’t want your hope. I want you to panic and act as if the house is on fire - because it is.’
The young woman who is also a Lions Club Youth Ambassador for Ireland and is going into Leaving Cert, described the event as ‘historical and significant.’
‘The Youth Climate Summit will feature a full day of programming that brings together young activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and change-makers who are committed to combating climate change at the pace and scale needed to meet the challenge,’ she said.
‘I hope to represent the voice of all the young people in Ireland who have demonstrated, striked and worked on projects taking climate action. This will be such a significant and historical event which I hope will be a real opportunity for us to finally have our voices heard and to work together with innovators, entrepreneurs, and change-makers to plan and take appropriate climate action.’