World leaders didn’t exactly act with urgency at this week’s United Nations Climate Action Summit, but a group of children sure did. Sixteen youth filed an unprecedented complaint against five G20 countries for not acting on climate change.
The five countries are Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey, all of which have signed what’s called the third Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. That protocol allows children to file petitions against any of the 41 countries that have ratified it alleging their rights have been violated and asking for relief. And when it comes to climate change, there’s a pretty clear-cut case.
Chiara Sacchi, 17, is one of the signers of the petition, along with 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. But while Greta may be the most recognizable name on the case, each of the kids has a unique story to tell. Sacchi’s is that she’s from Argentina, putting her in the powerful position of taking her own country before the children’s rights committee for violating her rights (kids from Brazil, France, and Germany are parties to the complaint as well). Earther spoke with her about why she signed onto the complaint, why she thinks the climate crisis needs to be taught in schools, and her fear that future generations may not be able to enjoy the wonders of the natural world as the climate crisis worsens.
In a press release about the complaint, Sacchi said, “it feels like we are alone, like no one knows what to do, and when you know what to do, nobody takes action.” But the whirlwind of participating in last week’s climate strike in New York and meeting the other young people on the case has reshaped her outlook.
“This week, I’ve met a lot of people and been through a lot,” she told Earther. “With all the solidarity all over the world, how could I feel alone?”