I am going to tell you a story about justice and about leadership; my recipe for tackling climate change. First up, the context – David Cameron, our leader here in the UK, has been invited to New York to attend the Climate Summit hosted by Ban Ki Moon this September. I am going to tell you a story about why it is important that our dear leader David Cameron attends. This will be the second time a summit of this kind has been hosted; the first time did not go so well. It was ill-timed and that provided the leaders of the world to come up with excuses for the lacklustre outcome in the climate negotiations in 2009. This time around, it is vital that we put as much pressure on our world leaders to attend this event. In the UK, the UK Youth Climate Coalition are putting together a campaign to hold David Cameron to account, to act for young people – to go to the Climate Summit and lead on climate change.
I was born in Zimbabwe but I was part of the many that migrated to Britain because of the historical ties that lie between the two nations. When I arrived here, I immediately fell in love with British History, particularly when learning about social movements in Britain. This was a difficult time; even saying the word difficult does this period in history great injustice. Let us take a step back and think about the things that we enjoy or take for granted nowadays. For instance, we have the vote for both men and women, an education system that is available for all and is free that ensures that every child at least has the opportunity to reach GSCE level. Also, it is of great importance that we do not forget the vital role that Great Britain played in the abolition of slavery. You see, this did not come about without the hard work of the people long gone, whose contributions to Britain and the rest of the world remain testament that when people do come together, for a greater cause and good, to ensure that they and many generations to come can enjoy a better world where we can live in a fair and just society. As a people, we have a task to remind the political establishment that they represent us, that we hold them accountable and that history will judge them for how they have ensured that we all have a safe future. History enthusiasts will tell you that hindsight can both work for and against you. Therefore we have a duty – we have the right – and a chance to live an imprint that will ensure that the millions still yet to be born enjoy the world just like we do.
The importance of David Cameron going to the summit sends a message that Britain will lead from the front. If David Cameron wants to set himself apart from the other leaders, he has to not only attend but he has to be a leader. For him to attend shows that he is committed to making the world a better place. We have great history here in Britain of leading by example. We need to tap into that. The green movement of Britain has certainly done just that. When we come together we can certainly achieve a lot. The presidents of the United States and China are going and Cameron has to show that he is as serious as these two. He has to show that Britain has something to offer. If our Prime Minister needs any inspiration he should look no further than look at the people he is meant to lead. He should open the number 10 door and just look outside. We all remember what happened in Copenhagen. The optimism and hopes that a deal would finally be reached came crashing down. Dreams were broken, but the green movement did not give up. I was among them. I was betrayed by our leaders, but I also felt that perhaps I had not done enough as an individual. Would it have helped if I had written to my MP and Prime Minister to highlight the importance of getting a climate deal? Sadly, the only deal that was to be achieved was a face-saving “meaningful agreement” that involved the Americans and the Chinese. We have another shot at getting a climate deal that reaffirms a global commitment to 2 degrees and take us closer to a world that is 100% clean, without pollution and without unfairness.The climate summit ensures that there is credible momentum going into 2015 and that there is a clear demonstration of both will and intent for success in Paris in 2015.
It matters for David Cameron to go to the climate summit because it is time Great Britain stand up for what is right and because the people of this country want him to represent them. It matters because it is he that said he wants the coalition to be the “greenest government ever”. It is important because the story of Great Britain is not over. We have a chance of ushering in a new world, one that recognises the rights of future generations, their rights to exist and to enjoy the world just like we do. Our Prime Minister is in this story, he is part of it but his role or character in this story shall be determined by how he behaves and acts in the coming months. We are all watching, Prime Minister.