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Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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The next generation of environmental leaders

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At 14 years old, Francisco Vera is different from other teens his age, having already established an initiative with his friends called “Guardians for Life,” to advocate for the environment.

Born in Colombia, he was nine years old when the Amazon caught fire which inspired him to take action. His initiative educates children to care for the environment and in Colombia, it promotes the abolition of cosmetic products made with animals.

“Environmental, climate and citizenship education is the true life education. It should not be a policy that we have to promote from civil society, but a state policy,” said Francisco.

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“The State should rethink education and adapt it to the current context. Climate change should be taught and children should be given the necessary tools.

“Single-use plastic should also be banned. Approving a regional agreement is strategic for Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Francisco travelled to Rome to ask Pope Francis to write about the role children have in caring for the environment. During a General Audience, he had the opportunity to speak directly with the pope.

“It was absolutely thrilling; it’s just hard to really describe. It was a dream for me to meet with Pope Francis. I basically told him about my passion for the care of nature, for the care of the common home expressed in the encyclical Laudato si‘.”

Francisco won the Young Activist Summit Award in 2023 at the United Nations, an event that invites young people to raise awareness about their sustainability projects.

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