Two Wiky youths fly to international kids’ climate summit

A couple of young people who herald hope for the future are Autumn Peltier and Francesca Pheasant, both of Wikwemikong, pictured here as they got ready to board the plane in Toronto that took them to Sweden as Canada’s representatives at the Children’s Climate Conference in November.

SODERTALIJE, SWEDEN— Wikwemikong youths Autumn Peltier and Francesca Pheasant are attending the Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden this week, representing Canada and joining the discussion on climate change along with 64 other children ages 9-12 from 22 countries.

“This is an exciting opportunity and I want to travel to Sweden to share my opinion on climate change,” said 12-year-old Francesca prior to leaving for the conference on Monday. “This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I can’t wait to meet the other kids from around the world and learn about other cultures.”

“As Junior Miss Wikwemikong, I am looking forward to representing my community and my territory at the conference,” added 11-year-old Autumn. “I am going to get to meet world leaders and other children from around the world and share my ideas. We were given homework and asked to write down what we would say to our future children and what we would like to say to the global leaders. I wrote that Mother Earth is trying to tell us that she isn’t well and that if we keep continuing the way we are, she will get sick and die. I am praying and putting my tobacco down, hoping that we can do something to stop this.”

This is both girls’ first time outside of North America and Autumn’s first plane trip. As of press time Monday the girls had boarded their flight to Sweden. Once settled in, the girls will spend seven days in Sodertalje, with the bulk of their time at the conference from Wednesday, November 25 until Saturday, November 28.

“The purpose of the conference is to work together to agree on the ‘children’s demands,’ a communiqué handed to the world’s leaders at the climate summit COP21, December 3 in Paris,” states a press release from the Children’s Climate Conference. “The Paris meeting is the most important climate summit ever held. There is no doubt that the world’s leaders now need to agree on climate emissions, or we will face irreversible consequences. The Children’s Climate Conference is being held to give children a strong voice on this important issue, which actually affects the next generation more than the adults who decide today.”

During their time at the conference, Autumn and Francesca will meet the Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation Isabela Lovin and share their stories about climate change. They will also visit the Swedish Environment Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Asa Romson where they will present their communiqué.

Helping welcome the youth from around the world will be the Grade 4 class from Blombacka School in Sodertalje. The class will also host the visiting delegates throughout the conference and ensure everyone feels welcome and has fun.

The Expositor will be speaking with Autumn and Francesca once they return to Manitoulin and reporting on the conference and their experience.