British Indian youth activist speaks on climate change House of Commons in UK Parliament (Video)
Friday 2 December 2022 7:15 AM UTC
LONDON Dec 2: A 17-year-old British Indian youth activist was among a group of teenagers to speak from the Despatch Box at the House of Commons in London, where he raised the issue of climate change.
Dev Sharma, a Youth MP for Winchester in Hampshire as part of the UK Youth Parliament organisation made up of democratically elected members aged between 11 and 18, joined around 250 fellow Youth MPs from across the UK invited to debate topics related to health in the Commons chamber last month.
I had the honour to step up to the Despatch Box at the House of Commons and represent youth voice on the topic of Environment & Health ♻️
It was an absolutely surreal experience and I couldn’t be more grateful to open the debate on such a critical topic. pic.twitter.com/m4ZhROGWDg
The debate was watched over by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle as the young activists called for greater action to tackle climate change and other pressing issues of the day.
“No country and no economy is immune from the climate crisis. Almost undoubtedly, you have heard that we or humanity, is to blame for the climate crisis,” said Sharma, tabling the motion entitled ‘Environment and Health’ during UK Youth Parliament Day.
“So, let’s clarify we did not cause the current climate disaster, but we are facing the health impacts. When only a 100 firms account for 71 per cent of the industrial greenhouse gas emissions since 1988 and the richest 1 per cent of the world’s population generate more than twice the amount of the world’s carbon emissions as the world’s poor 50 per cent, the climate catastrophe was not brought on by us, it was caused by systems,” he said.
“Even if we may not have started this catastrophe, it must be us to resolve this. We will demand answers from the producers of fossil fuels, we will oppose the status quo because we are the ones to build new worlds,” he added.
Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) are elected every two years across the UK and there are currently hundreds of MYPs like Dev Sharma. Once elected, they meet with MPs and local councillors, organise events, run campaigns, make speeches, hold debates to make the views of young people heard. This year, they sat in the Commons for the eleventh time on November 4 and discussed four other topics besides the environment, including the impact of discrimination on health, education and health, cost of living and health and mental health services.
Leicester-based Sharma, who is also Chair of Bite Back 2030 – a youth-led movement campaigning for all young people to be given equal access to a good diet, has won the Diana Award for his food poverty activism. Having delivered a Food Charter to No. 10 Downing Street, he remains a vocal campaigner on the influence of junk food advertising on young people. – PTI