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Offaly Teenager Raises Climate Issues With The Taoiseach

The 15-year-old met Micheál Martin today.

A teenage farmer and climate activist has been meeting with the Taoiseach to bring the voices of farming families to the Taoiseach’s office as critical COP26 climate negotiations enter their final phase.

Fifteen-year-old Liadh Dalton lives on her family’s farm in County Offaly and won UNICEF Ireland’s 2021 #KidsTakeOver competition.

She had a one-to-one meeting with Micheál Martin to discuss how farming communities and those addressing the climate crisis can work together on a sustainable and positive future for all.

“I can see both sides of the argument, because I am both a farmer and a climate activist."

She wanted to talk to the Taoiseach about ways to bridge the gap between the two communities, so farmers can learn about new sustainable solutions, and also communicate what they are already doing, or planning to do, to protect the environment.”

With COP26 discussions ongoing, and bold action needed both in Ireland and around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Liadh believes positive and open dialogue between everyone must play a key part in tackling the climate crisis. “I want to see less hostility so that everyone can understand the importance of both farming and the environment. We can see during COP26 just why climate action is so important, and agriculture can play a positive role in addressing it. Farming is a way of life. It is something to be valued and farmers are custodians of our land. Family farms have been here for generations. And hopefully will be here for generations to come.”

“I work on our farm and I see the biodiversity and the simple things we do to protect our environment around us – like ensuring there is adequate cover for wildlife. On our farm, we have barn owls, and buzzards, and rabbits. And we plan to do much more. Sometimes the simple things have the biggest impact, like planting trees and wildflowers, collecting rainwater, and installing solar panels,” said Liadh.

Highlighting the importance of listening to young people’s views on the climate crisis, UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power said: “Climate change is a children’s crisis and children have a right to be heard and to participate in discussions about the future. Across the world, young people, like Liadh, continue to demand comprehensive, bold climate action from decision-makers. As yet, the action demanded has not materialised to the levels required. Children and young people are uniquely affected by the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, and they are the least responsible. We all know that as a society we must make big and collective change, and the voice of every child must be heard in that conversation. UNICEF’s vision is that every child grows up in a safe, clean and healthy environment. But we’re far from this vision, and it’s becoming urgent.”

Liadh’s #KidsTakeOver of the Taoiseach’s office comes in the build-up to UNICEF’s World Children’s Day on November 20th. World Children’s Day is a day ‘for children, by children’, when children from around the world will be taking over, as part of UNICEF’s global #KidsTakeOver initiative, key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to express their concerns about what global leaders should be focusing on.

According to UNICEF, to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis, comprehensive and urgent action is required to keep warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Governments around the world are woefully off track to meet this goal, and UNICEF estimates that the number of children at ‘extremely high-risk’ of the impacts of climate change will likely increase as the impacts of climate change accelerate.

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