Anjali Appadurai: Calls on UN Conference for Climate Change delegates to “Get it Done!”

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 by

Few students could imagine speaking at a United Nations Conference on Climate Change with thousands of delegates from all over the world, but that is exactly what Anjali Appadurai, a student from a small college in Maine, did. And her speech bluntly called out the failures of the adult delegates to agree on meaningful solutions saying, “You have been negotiating all of my life.” Speaking for half the world population who are young, she admonished, “Deep cuts now. Get it done.”

At the conclusion of her powerful address, the presiding officer said that her speech should have been scheduled earlier in the conference. Listen to her short but forceful speech and then click on an interview talked with Anjali about how she got there and what is next for her. She adds, “One of the great gifts of participating in the UN forum (is that) you meet a wonderful network of young people who are passionate, energetic, real go-getters.” (Please excuse the lip sync problems. We’ll get better.) There are also links below for the complete in depth interview and other related links. TOTG would like to hear your comments.

Click below for our interview with Anjali

If you are interested in seeing the complete in depth interview click the two links below:

Following the interview, Anjali emailed this note: “I have followed up with other youth in the climate realm and they have confirmed that youth who are interested in getting involved with this process may join this Google group:”

The group that launched Anjali is: Earth in Brackets – College of the Atlantic

The blog for Earth in Brackets is:

Note for Teachers:  The following is a link for an abbreviated (1 1/2 minute) video of Anjali Appadurai’s UN speech followed by a transcription of the abbreviated speech for use in English language classes:

Anjali Appadurai, student from College of the Atlantic speaking at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa:

“I speak for more than half the world’s population. We are the silent majority. You’ve given us a seat in this hall, but our interests are not on the table. What does it take to get a stake in this game? Lobbyists? Corporate influence? Money? You’ve been negotiating all my life. In that time, you’ve failed to meet pledges. You’ve missed targets and you’ve broken promises. But you’ve heard this all before. The international energy agency tells us we have five years until the window to avoid irreversible climate change closes. The science tells us we have five years maximum. You’re saying, “Give us ten.” The most stark betrayal of your generation’s responsibility to ours is that you call this ambition. Where is the courage in these rooms? Now is not the time for incremental action. Common but differentiated and historical responsibility are not up for debate. Respect the foundational principles of this convention. Respect the integral values of humanity. Respect the future of your decedents. Mandela said, ‘It always seems impossible until its done.’ So, distinguished delegates and governments around the world… governments of the developed world… deep cuts now! Get it done! [Applause]”


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