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COP26: Mothers From 44 Countries Demand End to Fossil Fuel, Clear Air

"As parents and as mothers we are absolutely sure and we will not take no for an answer."

Published
Climate Change
3 min read

Video Producer: Debayan Dutta

Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

Protests at COP26 have come in all forms, but perhaps the most powerful and impactful have been the images of mothers and their young kids, some even babies, taking to the streets of Glasgow demanding a safer future for their children.

Leading from India was 'Warrior Mom' Bhavreen Kandhari. She's been a passionate advocate against air pollution back home, and she has joined mothers from across the world to demand world leaders act on their promises.

"So a group of moms has come to COP26 to tell our leaders and politicians that we have to give up fossil fuels. This is harming all the kids. This is a petition that has been signed by nearly 500 parent groups from 45 countries. As parents and as mothers we are absolutely sure and we will not take no for an answer."
Bhavreen Kandhari, Climate Activist, Warrior Moms
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Bhavreen attending a session at COP26</p></div>

Bhavreen attending a session at COP26

(Photo Courtesy: Bhavreen Kandhari) 

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Air pollution's impact on children has been well documented. About 93 percent of children worldwide breathe toxic air. The activists believe that air pollution is one of the most significant crisis facing children, and it is directly linked to fossil fuel burning.

For years they have demanded better protection for marginalised children from the Global South who face a bigger burden of air pollution with little protection.

Among the mothers is also Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, a clean air activist from the United Kingdom (UK). Her nine-year-old daughter Ella became the face of the movement when her death was declared the first air pollution death in the world.

"We believe that governments have a duty towards their citizens and they must look after the health of their people. Especially the poor people in countries all over the world. This is about them. We have come here to represent ordinary people," said Rosamund, adding,

"This is about inequality that needs to be addressed. The gap between the haves and the have nots is getting wider and wider, and we need to look at that."
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, a UK-based climate activist, lost her daughter to air pollution.&nbsp;</p></div>

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, a UK-based climate activist, lost her daughter to air pollution. 

(Photo Courtesy: Bhavreen Kandhari)

A total of 488 parent groups from across 44 countries, including India, Brazil, Britain, Nigeria, and South Africa submitted a petition to COP26 president Alok Sharma, where they called on world leaders to limit air pollution and end financing of fossil fuels. This movement is thought to be the biggest parent mobilisation on any issue in history.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Mothers protest at COP26</p></div>

Mothers protest at COP26

(Photo Courtesy: Bhavreen Kandhari) 

"This petition was handed over to Mr Alok Sharma, who is the president of COP26. We have also warned him that we will be coming to the next COP and we are questioning you and we are going to be there, because it is a matter of our own children, and we are not going to give up."
Bhavreen Kandhari

The mothers have no intention of give up: They plan to land at COP every year and demand action.

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