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Emma de Saram

Global campaigning role for University of Exeter student ahead of appearance at COP26

A University of Exeter student taking part in high-profile summits held to coincide with the G20 and COP26 meetings is calling on world leaders to listen to young people to tackle the climate emergency.

Emma de Saram will be attending COP26 with the campaign group Green New Deal Rising. She will also be taking part in a panel event organised by the group She Changes Climate, which calls for equal gender representation in climate policy.

Emma is also part of the delegation of students who will be showcasing University of Exeter climate change research via social media and networking at COP.

Last week Emma took part in the Global Progress Summit Session in Rome, held to coincide with the G20 summit, travelling there by train. Young climate leaders, representing Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States who took part in the event discussed the crucial role young people play in advocating for social and climate justice. Emma answered questions from the panel on what she would do if installed as the next Prime Minster, and how to mobilise young people behind voting for progressive candidates. 

The event was part of the Berggruen Institute’s Future of Democracy’s Youth Environment Service (YES) campaign to build broad-based commitments from governments to invest in jobs, national service, and other opportunities for young people to work together, acquire skills and training, and build common purpose and solidarity in protecting their communities from climate change.

Emma, 21, from Blandford Forum, started campaigning on social issues after starting hospitality jobs during which she witnessed injustices in her local community. Her actions have included Black Lives Matter solidarity protests, volunteering with local charities, organising litter picks and talks on climate change. 

The third-year history student is also campaigns officer for Be the Change and Animal Welfare Society and is currently campaigning for more plant based catering on campus, as well as finding peace by helping at the university’s community garden.

Emma said: “This is our future. We’ve all got to make sacrifices and I’m campaigning on behalf of others without same privileges. I see it as my duty as part of communities and help bring people together to fight for the same causes.

“COP will be an important international event and I hope to see important progress being made towards addressing climate injustices. I hope world leaders listen to the diversity of activists, people of colour, indigenous peoples, and young people attending COP. We are the future and we are picking up the pieces of years of austerity, extractivism and profit at the expense of people.  We can’t address climate without looking at broader social injustices. We need to level the playing field.” 

Date: 2 November 2021

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