12-year-old Colombian environmentalist stands out at COP26

By Javier Albisu

Glasgow, UK, Nov 10 (EFE).- Francisco Vera was born only 12 years ago in a town near Bogota, but his ecological discourse and eloquence have given him a distinctive voice at the United Nations COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

As world leaders gather to find ways to tackle the climate crisis, Vera asks the adults to listen to children when it comes to building the world they are going to inherit.

“It is necessary to include children, who also can think critically, make well-structured arguments, with a way of thinking different from adults,” he says during an interview with Efe.

“Adults are building us a society from their point of view and not from our way of seeing things. In the middle of this climate and environmental crisis, we must be included,” he added.

When he was 10 years old, Vera made himself known in the Colombian Senate after he urged the political class to “be aware of the damage we have done to the environment.”

He was congratulated by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and has thousands of followers on social media.

Now he is participating in his first COP, where he met famous young activist Greta Thunberg and the former United States president Barack Obama, who urged young climate activists not to give up on their cause.

“The example that Obama sets, I put it on a level with Colombia. For example with veganism, people say that there are people who are not convinced because they eat meat. But in Colombia people do not decide whether to eat meat or eat vegetables. Eat what you can eat because sometimes they don’t even eat one meal a day,” he explains.

This “makes us reflect a bit about how social justice has to do with climate justice. Without social justice, there is no climate justice, and vice versa.”

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