A 17 year-old British-Indian activist addressed the House of Commons, calling for swift action on climate change to prevent its adverse impacts on health.
Dev Sharma was among the 250 members of the Youth Parliament from across the UK who were invited to debate on topics related to health in the chamber recently.
“Let’s clarify we did not cause the current climate disaster, but we are facing the health effects — even if we may not have started this catastrophe, we must be the ones to resolve it. We’ll demand answers from the producers of fossil fuels,” Dev said while speaking from the Despatch Box.
Dev is the Youth MP for Winchester and Chair of Bite Back 2030 — a youth-led movement campaigning for young people to be given equal access to a good diet.
“We look at you and ask why we don’t have clean air to breathe, why huge parts of the world have drowned (and) why you don’t act,” asked Dev, also a Member of the Youth Parliament for Leicestershire.
The young activist has been a powerful voice for youth on issues like holiday hunger and free school meals, and has won the Diana Award for his food poverty activism.
“Please protect the air we breath, the food that we eat, the water we drink and the hopes and dreams that sustains our lives. Don’t vote for division, don’t vote for distraction, don’t vote for doom, don’t be judged by the future generation for depriving them of a habitable planet,” Dev said.
Addressing the youth MPs, he said, “Let’s continue our aim of lobbying our MPs and acting for our constituents and let’s make environment and health our national campaign.”
He also took to Twitter later and said that speaking in the Parliament “was an absolutely surreal experience and I couldn’t be more grateful to open the debate on such a critical topic”.
Dev has also spoken at the UN Food Systems Summit and Global Obesity Summit in New York.