Meet Indian Schoolgirl Who Delivered Stirring Speech At World Climate Conference

Glasgow: An Indian schoolgirl made waves at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

Meet 15-year-old Vinisha Umashankar from Tamil Nadu, who made world leaders sit up and take notice with a powerful speech on Tuesday.

Vinisha, whose solar-powered ironing cart project was the finalist of Prince William’s inaugural Earthshot Prize — which is dubbed as the ‘Eco Oscars’ — urged world leaders to “stop talking and start doing”.

“I’m not just a girl from India. I’m a girl from Earth and I’m proud to be so. I’m also a student, innovator, environmentalist and entrepreneur but most importantly, I’m an optimist,” she said in the course of a four-minute speech which was greeted with a rousing applause.

Prince William, who stood on stage, posted a message of appreciation for Vinisha, saying how proud he was to see her speak on the global platform.

“Feeling optimistic as I head home from #COP26 having met our @EarthshotPrize. Winners & Finalists and discussed their solutions to repair our planet. Especially proud to see Vinisha speaking in front of the world, demanding change so that her generation can have a better future,” he wrote from the official social media accounts that represents him and wife Kate Middleton.

The teenaged innovator and activist’s solar-powered ironing cart has the potential to improve air quality across India.

“We, the Earthshot Prize Winners and finalists, are proof that the greatest challenge in the history of our Earth is also the greatest opportunity. We lead the greatest wave of innovation humanity has ever known,” said Vinisha.

“We chose not to complain, but take actions that will make us wealthier and healthier. We chose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Rising to these challenges will shape a new generation. A generation that will build a better world for all of us and generations to come,” she said.

“We won’t wait for you to act. We will lead even if you don’t. We’ll build the future, even if you are stuck in the past. Please accept my invite. I assure you won’t regret it,” she added.

Vinisha made the shortlist for of the 1 million pound Earthshot Prize in the ‘Clean Our Air’ category with her concept of solar-powered clean alternative to charcoal-powered street irons that press clothes for millions of Indians every day.

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