New York, USA – 21 September, 2009 – While Heads of States are talking in the UN headquarters about climate change, the youth from around the world is taking action. "It is about our future. We cannot sit, listen and not act. Talking alone isn't going to stop the glaciers from melting. We demand politicians, fellow citizens, parents, businesses and other children: Stop talking. Start planting – for the sake of our common future," said 11-year-old Felix Finkbeiner from Germany during the presentation of the campaign in New York with the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP, Achim Steiner, and Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai.
In this unique campaign 132 children from already 56 countries pledge to plant 1 million trees, in the next 3 years, in each of their countries to help reduce the adverse effects of climate change. Today the children of India too declared to plant 1 million trees. They have adopted the motto "Stop talking. Start planting." Campaign activities include worldwide tree planting drives and awareness raising through taking photos of world leaders, VIPs and high profile figures with a child's hand over their mouths. So far over hundred VIPs including Nobel Peace Laureate Rajendra Pachauri, Prime Minister South Korea Han Seung-soo, Chinese pop star Wei Wei and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson have taken part in the campaign. The latest additions were supermodel Gisele Bündchen and HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco. The children are also invited to address the UN General Assembly on 22 September 2009 to present their views on the debate on climate change in a 3 minute speech.
Generally the children are already active in 56 countries where they are following the pledge of planting at least 1 million trees. "We are currently still trying to expand our worldwide network. We want to reach a truly global movement – and we are on the right track. In Germany the children will have planted the millionth tree by the end of this year. It all started with a class presentation I gave in grade 4 in January 2007 at my school near Munich when I shared my vision to plant a million trees in each country of the world with my class-mates", explained Felix, adding that Chinese pop star Wei Wei promised to soon present a special campaign song.
As a first call to action, the children aged between 10 and 14 are contacting their prime ministers and heads of state asking for action and their support by referring in personal letters to a two-page declaration that was written and approved by 800 children from 107 countries during the UNEP's International Children and Youth Conference in South Korea in August (www.plant-for-the-planet.org/press_release).
This declaration of the children and youth of the world, representing half of the world’s population, urge governments, civil society and individuals to stop talking and start planting. The children then go on to express their concerns about the future of the planet and call for radical measures to deal with climate change for future human health, job security and social development.
"We all know the problems. Now it’s time to act. Let’s waste no time and Stop talking. Start planting. Each time adults just talk and don’t act, it’s up to us, the children, to take matters into our own hands. Quite literally. As you can see, we aren’t just trying to save the world, we are trying to save our future too,” was the clear message Felix sent. The UN has heard the message and is supporting the campaign in the framework of their "Billion Tree Campaign".