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Tamil-Canadian student makes headlines over climate change speech

At last month’s International Climate Change Talks in South Africa, Tamil-Canadian student Anjali Appadurai made headlines when she delivered a powerful speech urging world leaders to take action over climate change.

Her speech which has clocked up tens of thousands of views on YouTube, has won the praise of Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, and award winning author Naomi Klein who tweeted;

Anjali Appadurai is a hero, watch her brilliant speech that rocked the climate summit in Durban”

Speaking on behalf of youth delegates at the conference, Ms Appadurai started her speech saying,

“I speak for more than half the world’s population. We are the silent majority. You’ve given us a seat in this hall, but our interests are not on the table.

What does it take to get a stake in this game? Lobbyists? Corporate influence? Money? You’ve been negotiating all my life. In that time, you’ve failed to meet pledges, you’ve missed targets, and you’ve broken promises. But you’ve heard this all before.”

Ending her speech with a fiery “mic check”, she also managed to win the admiration of the the COP Chair of the session Artur Runge-Metzger, who said to applause,

"I wonder why we let not speak 'half of the world's population' first in this conference, but only last”."

Stepping up to the microphone Ms Appadurai delivered a rousing speech, proclaiming,

“Respect the foundational principles of this convention. Respect the integral values of humanity. Respect the future of your descendants. Mandela said, "It always seems impossible, until it’s done."

So, distinguished delegates and governments around the world, governments of the developed world, deep cuts now. Get it done.”

The 21-year old Tamil Canadian student, who cites Arundhati Roy as one of her heroes, is currently a student at College of the Atlantic in Bar harbour, USA.

See an interview with Ms Appadurai below.

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