At the age of 12, Francisco Vera Manzanares has become a world leader in the fight against climate change. On June 29th, he offered a conference at the headquarters of Fundesplai, in Catalonia Spain, entitled The Future Is Here.
The event was co-organized by Plant-for-the-Planet Spain and Fundesplai, a grass-roots organization that holds extracurricular activities for children, within the framework of the European project EAT:LIFE.
Francisco founded the ‘Guardians for Life’ movement at 9 years old, a group that brings together 500 children and young people who promote environmental awareness in his native Colombia.
He is also a child advisor to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and goodwill ambassador of the European Union in Colombia. He was invited to the parliament of his country in 2019, where he gave a speech against fracking, animal abuse, and the use of plastics.
In addition, Francisco has written the book “Ask Francisco: What is climate change?” and has very active profiles on social networks with thousands of followers.
During the first half of the event, Francisco gave a speech to an audience of over 50 children and 30 adults, that began with an allusion to the importance of thinking about the Earth as a whole: “The planet has no borders and everything we do on it has consequences, and we do not have a planet B”.
His message during the conference focused on the need for children to exercise their citizenship to take action in the fight for climate justice, and on the concept of «eco-hope» versus «eco-anxiety» to face the challenges of the present and future with commitment and actions.
For the second part of the event, 45 children participated in a Plant-for-the-Planet Academy. During the workshop, children learned more about the causes and impacts of climate emergency. They were also able to debate different strategies and actions to fight climate change daily.
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