Recognising climate change as an existential threat to humanity, an optimistic schoolgirl from Tamil Nadu impressed world leaders with an impressive address at the UN climate change conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, last week.
The finalist of Prince William's Earthshot Prize, 15-year-old Vinisha Umashankar said before heads of state and government delegations: "Many of my generation are angry and frustrated at leaders who've made empty promises and failed to deliver. And we have every reason to be angry. But I have no time for anger. I want to act.
"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."
Her brief address received a rousing applause from the audience, including British royal family member Prince William, who stood on stage and proudly listened to her speech.
He later posted a message of appreciation, saying how proud he was to see Vinisha speak on the global platform.
"Feeling optimistic as I head home from #COP26 having met our @EarthshotPrize Winners & Finalists and discussed their solutions to repair our planet. Especially proud to see Vinisha speaking in front of the world, demanding change so that her generation can have a better future," he tweeted.
Attending the leaders' event Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment, Prince William delivered a speech in which he showcased the prize winners and finalists and solutions to the world's greatest environmental challenges.
He was joined on stage by Vinisha, who called on world leaders, international organisations, civil society and business leaders to back the innovations, solutions and projects working to repair the planet and join the next generation in taking action.
During the summit, the winner and finalists of the Fix Our Climate Earthshot displayed their ground-breaking environmental solutions in front of heads of state and government delegations.
This included Vinisha's solar-powered mobile ironing cart, which is a solution to replace the charcoal ironing box commonly used in Tamil Nadu and other states in India.
Her cart is powered by solar panels that produce 250 watts of power per hour and can run the steam ironing box for six hours. Her innovation has won her laurels from around the world, including the prestigious Children's Climate Prize for 2021.
Indo-Asian News Service