Talk Less, Work More: 11-Year-Old Climate Activist Ridhima to Govt

Eleven-year-old Ridhima Pandey opens up about her activism, message to government and internet trolls.

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(This video is being republished from The Quint’s archives following Ridhima Pandey featuring in the BBC’s 100 Women List of 2020. It was originally published on 11 October 2019.)

Video Editor: Ashish Maccune

“I need our government to talk less and work more.’’
Ridhima Pandey

That’s what this 11-year-old has to say to the Government of India.

Meet teen climate change activist Ridhima Pandey. She was one among the 16 child petitioners at the UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019.

Ridhima along with the other children filed a petition in the UN against five member States for their neglect towards the environment which they say constitutes a violation of child rights.

In a candid conversation with The Quint, she opens up about her journey as a teen environmentalist and replies to those who troll her.

'Filed First Petition At The Age of 9'

Deeply affected by the Kedarnath floods in 2013, Ridhima dragged the Indian government to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2017 for failing to act against climate change.

In her petition, she contended that ‘India was one of the most vulnerable countries to be affected by climate change’ and called for immediate government action to assess industrial projects, prepare a carbon budget and create a climate recovery plan.

“I filed a petition at the National Green Tribunal asking the tribunal to give directions to our government as they were not fulfilling conditions of the Paris Agreement.”
Ridhima Pandey

‘Talk Less Work More’

When asked about the importance of children protesting climate crisis, Ridhima says:

“It’s important that we protest, because if we don’t protest we are the ones who will have to live with the adverse effects of climate change.”

The young activist also firmly believes that the Indian government is ‘all talk and no work’.

She requests the government to put more effort into work on ground rather than in speeches and dialogues.

“I don’t want dialogues, I want work on ground because their dialogues are not going to protect our future, their work is going to protect our future.”
Ridhima Pandey

‘Easy To Sit In Your House & Comment’

Since her childhood, Ridhima has always been motivated to work for the environment and its betterment. But all this hard work has come at a cost.

To be a part of the UN Climate Action Summit, she had to miss five of her half yearly exams which she will not be able to retake. While most of her friends at school believe that ‘she gets to roam around the whole world and do nothing’, people across the internet have also trolled her heavily.

But these roadblocks have not dampened her spirit. To such trolls, Ridhima has this to say:

“It’s easy to sit in your houses and comment but to go to different places and put your point across, talk about your activism, that is tough. So first you do something and then you talk to us.”
Ridhima Pandey

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