A delegation of Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) Youth Ambassadors attended the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, held October 31–November 12. The group included Jerome Foster II, Xiye Bastida, Kevin J. Patel, Lilly Platt, and Aeshnina “Nina” Azzahra. The youth were there to call on world leaders to take action on plastics and fossil fuels to solve the climate crisis.
Plastic is a major contributor to climate change. 99% of plastic is made from fossil fuels, so more single-use plastic means more fossil fuel extraction, production, and greenhouse gas emissions—and more serious impacts to our health and planet.
PPC Youth Ambassadors join youth climate activists from around the world at COP26 in November 2021. Back row, left to right: Indy Howeth, Vic Barrett, Elijah McKenzie Jackson, Kevin J. Patel, Jerome Foster II, and Gregor E D Sharp. Front row, left to right Alexandra Villaseñor, Xiye Bastida, Ayisha Siddiqa, and Leah Thomas.
In addition, they supported the broader climate demands by youth leaders at COP26:
- Divest from all fossil fuel investments, reinvest in green energy, and ensure a just transition led by workers and impacted communities.
- Center climate justice in all key policy decisions.
- Stop all open pipelines and oil extraction initiatives from Line 3 in the US to Cambo in Scotland.
- Hold large corporations accountable for their actions that contribute directly to the climate crisis.
- Create policies to protect activists’ rights to peaceful protest and safeguard democracy around the world.
- Remove the economic, political, and social influence of fossil fuel companies from key international climate meetings.
Youth activists broadly reported they did not feel heard at COP 26 and expressed frustration at the heavy presence of fossil fuel lobbyists. And even though COP26 may not have delivered what we need to stave off a dangerous level of climate change, our youth are not stopping their efforts. In 2022, youth activists from around the world plan to gather in Paris, where the historic Agreement was signed, to create a roadmap for countering the massive injustices happening around the world from plastic pollution and the environmental health and climate crises.
At PPC, we think it’s critical to support and uplift youth voices in our efforts to solve plastic pollution and the climate crisis, and will keep doing all we can to safeguard their, and all of our, futures.