A Class 9 student and one of the finalists of the Earthshot Prize, Vinisha Umashankar, spoke about climate change at the Glasgow COP26 attended by PM Narendra Modi and other world leaders. She was invited by Prince William to speak at a meeting discussing clean technology and innovation at the climate conference, as per NDTV reports.
The 14-year-old from Tamil Nadu urged the leaders to ‘stop speaking and start doing’.
Her powerful speech has grabbed the attention of all listeners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. She even received a standing ovation for her speech that highlighted the anger of her generation and frustration at world leaders.
7 DAYS to GO! The first-ever Earthshot Prize awards ceremony will be hosted by Dermot O’Leary and Clara Amfo on 17-10-21 8 PM BST (18-10-21 12:30 AM IST) at the iconic Alexandra Palace, London. Watch it live on BBC YouTube Channel or Discovery Facebook Page. #EarthshotPrize #BBC pic.twitter.com/wFm1HB1NAR
— VINISHA UMASHANKAR (Solar Ironing Cart) (@Vinisha27738476) October 11, 2021
“On behalf of The Earthshot Prize winners and finalists, I invite you to join us. I invite you to stand with us. We hope that you will give up the old ways of thinking and the old habits. When we invite you to join us, we will lead, even if you don’t. We will act, even if you delay. And we will build the future, even if you are still stuck in the past. But please accept my invite and I assure you, you will not regret it,” she said.
The teenager is a student of SKP Vanitha International School in Tiruvannamalai who designed a solar-powered street ironing cart in 2018, which replaces charcoal with natural solar energy. It all started from a realisation that 12 fully-grown trees were cut down in order to make 1 kg of charcoal.
The following year, a group of engineers from the National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad, realised her dream. The innovation has won her the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE award as well as Children’s Climate Prize, which is one of the largest international climate awards with a cash prize of Rs 8 lakh.
The Earthshot Prize started by Prince William last year, looks for the most inspiring and innovative solutions to environmental damage caused by human activities. According to India Today, Vinisha is the youngest finalist and she represented all the others by delivering a speech.
“I’m not just a girl from India. I’m a girl from Earth and I’m proud to be so. I’m also a student, innovator, environmentalist and entrepreneur but most importantly, I’m an optimist,” declared Vinisha in her speech.
Towards the end of the oration, she reminded the world that “when it comes to climate change, there is no STOP button”. Vinisha’s words and thoughts are bold enough to proliferate and open the eyes of the world to the harsh reality of this crisis.
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