I am inspired by the energy & commitment of the young climate activists I met today at the @UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon.
Youth of the world:
We need your passion, your ideas & your action.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) June 26, 2022
Speaking in front of 100 youth advocates who gathered to inspire, amplify, and accelerate youth action for our ocean, Mr. Guterres reiterated the need to rescue the planet.
At Carcavelos beach, on the edge of the ocean near the centre of his home city, Lisbon, the Secretary-General apologized on behalf of his generation for the state of the oceans, for the state of biodiversity and for the state of climate change.
“My generation, and those who were politically responsible – which is my case – we were slow or sometimes unwilling to recognize that things were getting worse and worse in these three dimensions: oceans, climate, and biodiversity”, Mr. Guterres told the lively crowd.
Adding that globally, the world is still moving too slow and must act now to start rehabilitating the oceans, rescuing biodiversity, and halting climate change, the UN chief stressed that “it is a generational responsibility that goes far beyond political leaders”.
‘Do everything’ to stop pollution
Telling the young audience that there is an area of plastics in the Pacific Ocean – a huge floating ‘dump’ of plastic containers, bottles and other detritus widely referred to as ‘the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – that is larger than France, Mr. Guterres said: “we are still throwing 8 million tons of plastics to the ocean, every year”.
Because of this and more, the youth will inherit a planet in trouble, the UN chief, warned and told the gathered youth that they would need “to do everything to reverse everything” – reverse political decisions, reverse economic decisions, and reverse individual behaviours.
“Let’s be honest, when I look at myself and my own behaviour, my footprint on the planet is too big,” the Secretary-General admitted.