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COP26 Speeches for the Classroom

Sir David Attenborough (7 minutes)

"Is this how our story is due to end? A tale of the smartest species doomed by that all-too-human characteristic of failing to see the bigger picture in pursuit of short term goals?"

British naturalist and Emmy-winning narrator David Attenborough gave a speech at COP26 that rings of a short documentary. With some jarring visuals, he provides a brief overview of rising global temperatures before advocating that young people today are the impetus for carbon capture and clean energy efforts.

Xiye Bastida (5 minutes)

"Today I want to talk about the climate crisis being a generational injustice. When we talk about the impact of the climate crisis on future generations, we speak on them as if those generations were not here, but we are, present. By 2050, I will be 48 years old, and when I look out of the window, I will see the world you are negotiating right now."

Xiye Bastida is a Mexican-Chilean climate activist and member of the indigenous Otomi-Toltec nation. Her essay, "Calling In," is the first in All We Can Save's anthology of feminist climate writing. Towards the end of her speech, Xiye asks the audience to connect on a personal level to the following statement:

"I am in a critical moment in history in which I have a stake in the future of the planet. I will be respectful and responsible enough to listen to the generations of the future, and to the best avaiable science, and do everything in my power to leave this world better than I found it. I will Starting by commiting to help my country to do the most to stay below 1.5 degrees of warming, while centering justice and the protection of frontline communities."

Vinisha Umashankar (5 minutes)

"I am not here to speak about the future. I am the future."

Vinishia Umashankar is a student, innovator, and entrepreneur from southern India. At 15 years old, she's already patented her solar-powered steam iron invention, Iron-Max. In 2020, she won the Children's Climate Prize, a Swedish award for young innovators, and more recently, she was a finalist for the Earthshot Prize launched by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.