By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jan 13: Climate change activist Licipriya Kangujam has conveyed that ever since she was very young, she used to shed tears of sorrow watching the devastating impact of climate change on the television.
Licipriya (8), who is the eldest daughter of Kangujam (O) Bidyarani Devi from Basikhong Wangkhei Loumanbi Leikai, has already been named among the top 100 child prodigies across the globe. She constantly travels to various locations around the world spreading the message of the dangers of climate change. She even held a demonstration in-front of the Indian Parliament appealing to the Central Government to establish climate laws for the protection of the environment.
Speaking to The Sangai Express, Licipriya Kangujam said that she studied at KIIT International School, Bhubaneswar, since Nursery but as her activism consumed most of her time, she was not able to attend classes regularly from February last year.
She said that back then (February, 2019) she initiated her demonstration in front of Parliament House demanding the Government to come out with climate laws.
Pointing out that she had to go to New Delhi every week, Licipriya said that she dropped out of her studies.
She explained that even though her parents admitted her to a school (St Joseph's School) nearby Delhi, she was not able to attend classes regularly and had to receive home schooling from the month of July.
Claiming that she has been approached by many famous schools from around the world to continue her study there, with promises for scholarship facilities, Licipriya said that she is planning to study at Cambridge International School, UK, and added that she and her younger sister, Irina Kangujam, will study for free there.
Many International foundations and organisations are also providing support constantly, she added.
Licipriya narrated that when she was around 5 years old, a famous Indian environmental activist Abdul Ghani came to visit her, and explained that from then, she began feeling motivated to do something for the environment.
The meeting with Abdul Ghani awakened a love and a keen desire to protect and preserve the environment, she said, adding that however, back then she did not feel any urge or desire to become an activist.
Everytime there was a holiday, I used to go and plant trees in empty hills and other areas. Till date, I have planted around 3000 trees across 21 countries all over the world, Licipriya said proud of her small yet significant contribution to the planet.
She continued that while she was small, she used to cry after seeing the suffering of the children who were orphaned due to natural disasters like flood and landslides, on television.
She said that one day, an invitation was emailed to her to participate in the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risks Reduction, 2018, organised by the United Nations from July 4-7, at Ulaanbaatar City, Mongolia.
Her first participation in an International conference during which world leaders deliberated on ways and means to save the environment and the planet, changed her life forever, Licipriya said, adding that after taking part in the conference, she returned and began a children volunteer movement called Child Movement the same month.
Pointing out that the movement is called Bachpaan Andolan in Hindi and Angangsinggi Khongjang in Manipuri, Licipriya said that the main aim of the movement is to mount pressure on the world leaders to do something positive for the environment, apart from being a voice for the children around the world who are affected by climate change.
She mentioned that in February last year, she became even more motivated after witnessing the exploits of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and as a result, she has been demanding the Central Government to create climate laws for the country.
After protesting for five months (from February), she said that her protest was covered by an International NES Agency on July 21 and thereafter, she began gaining recognition from the people.
Licipriya said that if climate laws are implemented in the country, it will ensure a reduction in use of fossil fuels like coal and aid in advancement of clean and renewable energy.
With such laws, fossil fuels will be replaced by clean energies like solar and wind energy. The climate laws will ensure reduction of carbon and green house gases emission, thus helping in regulating the climate. Such a law has already been passed in New Zealand, she added.
If the students take up the initiative of planting trees, more than 3.5 billion trees can be planted all around India, Licipriya said, adding that it is high time for the people to come forward and contribute actively in the pursuit of environment conservation.
Licipriya conveyed that she wishes to continue her struggle till the end. She also expressed desire to establish the world largest free residential school for the children orphaned by wars and conflicts all over the world.
She said that it is quite easy to launch a movement in a small State or country, but it is a herculean task to do so at the international level.
Pointing out that she has to rush to make time for all of her activities, she said that due to the hectic nature of the work which involves travelling to other countries, preparing for speeches and meeting leaders and other activists, Licipriya said that she has ultimately decided to cancel any programme invitation which does not fall on either Saturday or Sunday or a holiday, until and unless the invitation is from the UN.
She then said that she has taken part in various conference like Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risks Reduction, 2018, (July 4-7), Ulaanbaatar City, Mongolia, United Nations Global Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction, 2019 (May 13-17), Geneva, UNESCO Partnership Forum, 2019 (September -22), Angola and United Nations Climate Conference, 2019 (December 3-14), Madrid, and even won various awards and titles like World Children Peace Prize 2019, Climate Warrior of the East title, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Children Award 2019, Rising Star title, India Peace Prize 2019 and Global Child Prodigy Award 2020.
Pointing out that she wishes to continue her studies from this year, Licipriya announced that one way or the other, she will never cease her climate change activism.