This 9-year-old is suing her government over polluted air (because girls can do anything)

Girls just want to have fun … and breathe clean air. That’s why Ridhima Pandey, a 9-year-old girl in India, recently took a bold step to fight climate change in her country. The incredible 9-year-old has filed a lawsuit against the Indian government over its failure to properly address the issue of climate change. She has filed her petition with the National Green Tribunal, a court reserved specifically for environmental cases in India, the world’s third largest emitter of carbon pollution.

By taking the government to court, Ridhima is hoping to take a stand for herself and future generations. While speaking to The Independent, she had this to say,

"My Government has failed to take steps to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing extreme climate conditions. This will impact both me and future generations. My country has huge potential to reduce the use of fossil fuels, and because of the government’s inaction I approached the National Green Tribunal."

And it seems like this love for the environment runs in the family.

Ridhima’s mother works within the forestry department and her father has been working for an environmental NGO in Uttarakhand for the past 16 years. Her parents totally support her cause. Her father says,

"I have raised her by teaching her about environmental issues. One day, she said to me ‘Daddy you raise a lot of these issues and nothing is being done so why are you not raising these issues in the courts?’ She then decided she wanted to do it."

Environmental attorney Rahul Choudhary, who filed the petition on Ridhima’s behalf, says Ridhima is “simply asking her Government to fulfil its own duty to protect the vital natural resources on which she and future generations depend on for survival.”

He told The Independent: “Children in India are now aware about the issues of climate change and its impact. The Indian constitution says that it is ‘the duty of every citizen of India…to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures.’”

This case is particularly important because it strongly highlights how continuing to do nothing will endanger the lives of our children. According to the World Health Organization, one in four children under the age of 5 has already been affected by diseases associated with pollution and unclean environments. And at the rate climate change is progressing, those number will only worsen.

For that reason alone, we’re 100% behind Ridhima Pandey and her team.

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