You have helped so many world disasters and to be honest with you I feared you.
I feared what you could do and what you still can do.
You do not conform to the worlds ways and you have stayed wild.
Untamed but unfortunately polluted.
You used to scream at me to listen to you but your waves petrified me too much for me to listen.
I blame myself for my ignorance I blame myself for not listening.
I should have listened.
We all should have listened.
I would call you a work of art but no one could be able to fit your beauty into one frame.
You have been my safe haven and you have been my comfort.
So, water I apologize.
I apologize for not caring when I should have.
I apologize for not listening but I hear you finally and I now understand.
I now vow to repay you for helping me by helping you.
Dear water I love you.
Feeling the coolness of my feet as I stand in the water.
After a long day of boredom and stress. I can’t help but smile as my mother watches.
“Let the problems and all pressure flow with the running river waters.
This will bring healing of your soul” -says my mother.
Along the river banks the trees and grasses are green because of the wetness that the water brings.
#Water Heals #Water is life
I call this place my sanctuary because of the calmness of the pond.
The steadiness of water gives peace and a sense of resilience.
She gives us a reflection of the sky and you can see it by looking down .
The beauty of water reflects the proximity of nature and human beings.
It guides the spirit of aura and maintains the ecstatic spirit of freshness in us ..
That’s why we all admire her .. Water !
Trickling streams, clear brooks,
A raging sea, a calm lake.
It’s all connected.
Raina Ivanova, 19 year old Youth Leader and Intern of H2OO, and one of 16 Petitioners in the Children vs. Climate Crisis Petition (10 of which were identified and supported by H2OO), was a guest speaker September 20, 2023, at a side-event on Children and Climate Change at the 54th session of the Human Rights Council. The event was co-organized by Child Rights Connect’s Working Group on children’s rights and the environment, of which H2OO is a member, and the Permanent Mission of Morocco.
The topic at issue was the General Comment on Children’s Rights and the Environment with a Special Focus on Climate Change (GC 26). GC26 is intended to be authoritative guidance on how children’s rights are impacted by the environmental crisis and what governments should do to uphold these rights to ensure that children live in a clean, healthy and sustainable world.
Raina, along with other youth leaders of H2OO, was invited to review and comment on the drafts of GC No. 26. Raina took the additional step of meeting with Committee members of the Convention of the Rights of the Child regarding GC26. Raina and her peers did not feel GC26 sufficiently required governments to take action to protect children considering the impact of the climate crisis and what they and future generations are inheriting.
Raina shared her thoughts at the side-event on Children and Climate Change at the 54th session of the Human Rights Council:
According to the UNICEF’s Climate Risk Index, half of the world’s children live in countries that are categorized as extremely endangered by climate change. This is equivalent to almost 1 billion children whose safety, education, livelihoods, and quite literally their lives themselves are severely endangered by the consequences of climate change. This is why the right to a healthy environment lays one of the most basic foundations for the realization of child rights.
The climate crisis is a child rights crisis.
The right to life is threatened by more severe naturaldisasters.
The right to health is threatened by faster-spreading diseases due to global warming.
The right to cultural identity is gravely at risk, especially for islanders due to sea level rise.
And the right to the best interests of the child as a primary consideration, is not met at every decision that perpetuates the climate crisis.
In order to protect these rights I joined a group of 15 other child plaintiffs in 2019 and filed the first petition through the Convention on the Rights of the Child that addressed 5 countries who violated these rights through their contribution to climate change. Our petition was dismissed in 2021; however, it became one of the reasons why General Comment 26 was dedicated to the right to a healthy environment with a special focus on climate change. Over 16,000 children contributed throughout the consultation process, including me and some of my fellow plaintiffs who shared our comments and suggestions with the Committee on the Rights of the Child including Mikiko Otani, who is also here today. Additionally, there was a Child Advisory Team set up that also supported the consultation process of the General Comment.
In many ways, General Comment 26 is a breakthrough for child rights, but in order for it to also become a milestone the work has just started. For this, we must understand the intersectional impacts of the climate crisis and how they are entwined with child rights, especially for the most affected children. To show this intersectionality I want to share the example of droughts that become more intense and long-lasting due to climate change. This not only endangers the right to food and water but can also lead to an increase of child labor and the violation of the right to education as UNICEF reports have shown. In severely impacted areas school attendance can drop drastically even leading to the entire shutdown of schools because the children are needed to help take care of livestock and to fetch water. Studies have shown that even gender-based violence can increase as a consequence of this.
These issues cannot be tackled individually from one another, and it is critical that we understand this when we work on implementing the new General comment. The effects of climate change are disproportionate and much more strongly felt in the global south but child rights and the protection of our shared environment have to be strengthened everywhere. Therefore, I invite you to join us child right and environmental defenders in making this breakthrough a milestone and in ensuring that what is written on paper in the General Commentis translated into reality for all children. I truly appreciate the inclusive effort to engage children in the making of this comment and I hope that we can build on this in the future and make sure that children can always participate safely in matters that concern them. Thank you once again, and I believe the only thing that’s left to say is let’s get to work!
Are there living things?
Do beautiful flowers bloom?
Can we live on this planet?
Do plants turn a beautiful green?
Can we imagine…
How can this world be without water?
Water is our legacy!
Let us think about water
A world –
A city –
A street –
A house –
A tree –
A spring bud blossoming in the smile of the sun.
A sweet kiss of the breeze sweeping white petals.
A tear of glimmering dew.
But we will never see it.
Oh, please remember me!
We are caught in a bitter torrent,
We are stuck in the habit of living.
We listen without hearing.
We touch without feeling.
We talk without being heard.
We look without seeing.
The world has gone on without us.
Oh, please remember me!
Hush my child.
Come with me,
Out of the waves,
Out of the rumpled sea.
There is still time to learn.
Oh, please remember me.
I used to be beautiful.
I used to be happy.
I used be bountiful and willing to give.
But then something changed.
I am no longer beautiful.
My pristine blue waters are suffocating in red.
I am no longer happy.
The life within me is perishing.
I am no longer able to give,
and yet you keep taking and taking.
I am sick.
I have a fever and my temperature’s rising.
The chemicals you use to make your food perfect spread through me like a disease,
Summoning algae to the surface of my waters,
Blocking the sunlight, choke the species that live inside me.
You see it happening –
Florida, California, Gulf of Mexico, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Lake Erie, Chesapeake Bay.
Do you regret? Would you turn back the time if you could?