Twelve-year-old about environmental pollution: “black clouds of exhaust gas annoy me”.

150 children discuss climate and environment at a UN conference. Twelve-year-old Esja Wendel would do things differently if she were mayor.

Cities without exhaust fumes – that’s what many people dream of Photo: ap

site: Why did you want to take part in the conference on the environment and climate?

Esja Wendel: So far, I have only seen conferences on television. So I was curious and wanted to participate in one. Environmental protection interests me because I am an animal fan. Nature should be clean for animals and people. When I see the black clouds of exhaust on the highway or the garbage in the city, I get angry about it.

What idea did you come up with for the "Kids Climate Conference" with?

We should submit a drawing, story or video that shows how nature gives us energy. The question was written in such a complicated way that I didn’t understand it at first. Then I simply drew a windmill with especially wide wings that can turn faster. When the wind blows through my hair, it gives me energy too.

Do you have any other ideas about where energy can come from in nature?

I have a favorite experiment: if you put copper in a potato and connect it with wires and a light bulb, it glows. There is energy in the potato. I tried that out with my dad.

You can make demands of the politicians at the conference. What kind of requests do you have?

I would do an experiment in several cities all over the world: No one would be allowed to drive for two months. Then the climate would hopefully cool down again. And it would be quieter and would no longer stink. You could turn off all the traffic lights and no one would be panic-stricken about crossing the street. Politicians always say something has to happen. But then they do nothing at all.

Esja Wendel (12) from Berlin took the train to Medebach for the Kids Climate Conference organized by WWF, UNICEF and Center Parks. The motto is: Enough is the right amount.

If you were mayor in your city, what would you do?

I would get rid of cars. Because I think more people should ride bikes. In the parks, have volunteers take turns picking up trash on the lawns until they’re clean. The forests around the city should be wildlife sanctuaries. As mayor, I would explain to people in the city why all this is important for the environment.

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