UNICEF's young reporters call for more caring attitude towards nature
No child deserves polluted air, water and food
PODGORICA, KOTOR, 21 April 2022 – Children and young people should be more informed about the living species that surround us, and adults should be role models for nature conservation, UNICEF’s young reporters said during a visit to the Boka Aquarium in Kotor.
On the eve of International Earth Day (22 April), young reporters, with the help of expert associates of the Institute of Marine Biology, learned that microplastics are the biggest threat to the rich marine ecosystem in the Adriatic.
UNICEF’s young reporter, Dunja Đuranović, was distressed by the story of the dangers lurking for sea turtles.
“I learned that their armour is often damaged by speedboats passing over it, and they also swallow plastic and drown in bags. I would very much like to see my peers, just like me, helping preserve the environment,” Dunja said.
Her fellow reporter Simon Perović was fascinated by the octopuses.
“I think that young people in Montenegro generally do not have much knowledge about the marine world, especially the one in the Adriatic Sea. I think that we should find out as much as possible, and many endangered species are depending on us.”
Young reporter Helena Ivanović believes that adults should be a model of behaviour and attitudes towards nature, which young people will emulate.
“I think that as many young people as possible should be included in this type of learning activity. We are not sufficiently informed about such opportunities,” said Helena.
Andrej Šljivančanin was delighted with the seahorses, rays and various fish.
“I was disappointed to learn that people are not interested in the species we have in the aquarium, but are looking for some exotic species, like sharks,” the young reporter said.
Tamara Mitrović from the Institute of Marine Biology informed young reporters that, according to the latest data, 456 species of fish live in the Adriatic Sea, of which 46 are new and invasive. She said that the Mediterranean is a hotspot due to extreme factors that are affecting the change in biodiversity, reducing the populations or leading to species extinction.
“I would offer the example of a bluefish. Until now, it was known that it does not live in waters with temperatures below 14 degrees Celsius, but today we can find it in the central and northern Adriatic, which clearly speaks of climate change, which is certainly one of the main causes of the endangering of biodiversity,” Mitrović said.
She appealed to fishermen to contact the competent institutions if they notice a new species.
Mitrović believes that young people can do a lot for the benefit of nature and the living world.
“My general impression is that we are going in the right direction because the story of global warming and marine pollution is increasingly being posted on social networks, such as TikTok, Instagram or on the popular Netflix, which I think is incredibly important for the younger population because they are primarily focused on those channels."
UNICEF Montenegro Representative Juan Santander highlighted a public opinion poll conducted in October 2021 by Ipsos with the support of the British Embassy in Podgorica and UNICEF. According to that research, three quarters of Montenegrin citizens agree with the statement that climate change is a threat to the future of mankind. On the other hand, only one in 10 completely disagree with this statement.
“There is plenty of evidence that pollution and climate change are a direct threat to a child’s ability to survive, grow and thrive. No child deserves polluted air, water and food. Every child deserves a safe and prosperous future. That is why climate change is a problem for all of us. On International Earth Day, UNICEF is calling on all parties to protect our children’s future and to take action today to prevent further climate change and environmental degradation,” Santander said.
He added that, on the global level, UNICEF estimated that demands for climate action have become increasingly associated with children and linked to universal notions of economic and social justice.
“Environmental and climate justice are increasingly being pursued through formal means via climate litigation. Globally, the cumulative number of climate-change-related cases has more than doubled since 2015. Just over 800 cases were filed between 1986 and 2014, while over 1,000 cases have been brought in the last six years,” it is stated in UNICEF’s Prospects for Children in 2022.