Teenage farmer and climate activist meets Taoiseach to call for positive climate future for every child

10th November 2021
PRESS RELEASE

Teenage farmer and climate activist meets Taoiseach to call for positive climate future for every child

#KidsTakeOver part of UNICEF’s World Children’s Day celebrations

Download photos of Liadh on her family’s farm here

DUBLIN 10 November 2021 – A teenage farmer and climate activist will today 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 will meet the Taoiseach Micheál Martin to discuss how a positive climate future for every child in Ireland can be achieved by everyone coming together to protect nature and farming livelihoods.

Liadh lives on her family’s farm in County Offaly and won UNICEF Ireland’s 2021 #KidsTakeOver competition. She will now have a one-to-one meeting with the Taoiseach 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. I would like 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 wild flowers, 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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ENDS

NOTES TO EDITOR

Download photos of Liadh on her family’s farm in Offaly here

About Liadh

Fifteen-year-old Liadh Dalton is a farmer and climate activist from Offaly.

Raised on her family’s farm, Liadh’s childhood experiences surrounded by nature have made her passionate about protecting the environment. In recent years, the increasingly unpredictable weather has made Liadh and her family more aware of the effects of climate change on the family farm.

However, alongside this, growing up in a rural farming community surrounded by peat bogs, Liadh has also seen how changing farming and energy practices, required to combat climate change, have impacted local families and livelihoods.

Since entering secondary school Liadh has been active in her school’s Climate Action Group, and in 3rd year she completed a science project on how seaweed supplements in cows’ diets could reduce methane emissions.

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, and that the challenges can only be tackled, and new solutions found, if everyone works together.

About World Children’s Day

More information on World Children’s Day, visit: https://www.unicef.org/world-childrens-day/

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.ie

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

For more information, please contact:

Danny Smits, danny@unicef.ie, Tel: +353 87 1308070