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Vinisha Umashankar Steals Show At Climate Summit

Last updated on: November 03, 2021 17:33 IST

'Just remember, when it comes to climate change, there is no STOP button!'
'We can't hit pause or even rewind, we can only move together towards the future.'

IMAGE: Vinisha Umashankar addresses world leaders at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
Photographs: Kind courtesy Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge/Instagram

Vinisha Umashankar, finalist at the Duke of Cambridge's The Earthshot Prize 2021 gave a powerful speech as she addressed world leaders at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

'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,' Vinisha, a schoolgirl from Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, told her audience.

IMAGE: The 15 year old shared the stage with Britain's Prince William who seemed fascinated by Vinisha's speech.

Hinting at the lack of meaningful and effective actions taken to address climate change, Vinisha added, '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've no time for anger. I want to act.'

She also sent across a strong message to world leaders on how they could repair the climate.

'Today I ask, with all due respect, that we stop talking and start doing.

'We, The Earthshot Prize winners and finalists, need you to back our innovations, projects and solutions, not an economy built on fossil fuels, smoke and pollution.

'We need to stop thinking about old debates, because we need a new vision for a new future.

'So you need to invest your time, money and effort in us to shape our future! I invite you to stand with us.

'We hope that you will give up the old ways of thinking and the old habits.'

Making a direct call to save the planet, she said, 'But let me be clear! When we invite you to join us, we will lead even if you don't.

'We will act even if you delay. And we'll 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.'

The teen, who designed a solar-powered ironing cart that replaces charcoal with clean energy to improve air quality, wanted leaders to act fast because 'when it comes to climate change, there is no STOP button!

'We can't hit pause or even rewind, we can only move together towards the future. So, united, we rise and together, we will definitely succeed!'

IMAGE: Vinisha has a chat with Prince William who appreciated her courage urging leaders to deliver action.

Taking to Instagram to comment on Vinisha's speech, Prince William wrote: 'Feeling optimistic as I head home from COP26 having met our Earthshot Prize winners and 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.'

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