At just 10-years-old, Bella Burgemeister decided to write a book called Bella’s Challenge to help children understand the climate crisis.

It was an ambitious feat to explain everything from economic growth to responsible consumption and production. Three-years on, the climate change activist is continuing to drive change and is encouraging more children to “speak up and fight back”.
At just 10-years-old, Bella Burgemeister decided to write a book called Bella’s Challenge to help children understand the climate crisis. © WendySlee


1. What inspired you to make the world a better place? ​

 
Three years ago, my mum showed me a video of the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yousafzai. Malala was talking about the 17 UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development and how it will take all of us to help our planet.

I knew the Global Goals were important for my future and the future of the planet. I wanted to help. I researched the Global Goals, but they were so hard to understand. I thought if kids can’t understand them, then how are we going to be able to help?

I decided that I would write a book and turn the Global Goals into kids speak and add challenges to show how kids can make changes for their community and the planet.

 

2. What was the most difficult thing to explain in the UN goals? 


I had no idea what most of the words meant, I just knew they were important. I had to research each goal, work out what it meant to adults, and then try and make it easier for kids to understand. We also decided to put in a challenge so kids could get straight to work on the goals and make positive changes.
 
© UNICEFAustralia
WCD WCD
WCD

Get involved:

This World Children’s Day, we’re asking every child
to tell the world how they’d change the world. 

Whatever issue you’re passionate about, from equality
to the environment to education, World Children’s Day
is the time to have your say on how you’d change
the world for the better. 

 


3. Did you have any writing experience before your book?


My mentor Kate Heaslip had brought The Book Incubator Program (a writing program) into my school. Each of the kids in my school worked with Kate on a book we felt was important to us. My first book was called Gone Fishing and it was a book about a family fishing trip I loved.
 

4. What did your family and friends think? 


Everyone thought I was crazy. The book took a year to finish. My friends would go shopping or to the beach and I would go to Kate’s to work on my book.  I didn’t stop because I knew how important my book was.
 


5. Why do you think it is important for everyone, not only kids, to understand sustainability? 


Sustainability is about living a good and healthy life while making sure future generations can live a good and healthy life. It is about thinking forward and looking after the future planet and all life on the planet. I don’t think we have been acting this way and now we are seeing the changes and have the science to prove this. It is time to turn around this man-made disaster and it is going to take everyone to make changes to future proof our planet.
Bella is using her voice to motivate other children and help make change. This World Children’s Day she is guest speaking at the UWA Children’s Voice conference in Perth. © WendySlee


6. What is your advice to other like-minded kids?


My advice to other kids is not to be put off by how big it seems. It can be the simplest actions that bring about the biggest change. Sustainability is not too big for kids to tackle; Pick up rubbish in your local area or beach; Sort your rubbish right and share your ideas with others. Kids have been key in driving massive changes so why not you? Start local, think Global.


7. Do you want to be part of finding solutions to problems?


I want everyone to be part of finding solutions to problems. We need a multigenerational cooperation working together as one voice. We all must work together in any way we can. We also need to identify problems before they need solutions. We need our leaders to start doing what they are elected and paid to do and lead in the best interest of the planet and people - not money and greed.
 


8. When you speak up, do you feel like you are heard?


I felt like I had no voice when I first started writing my book. I have stepped up so many times and continue to speak up if I feel I can help and bring positive change. Now I feel people listen. I also have a wonderful community that have always stood by my side and support me. I would encourage all youth to have voice if you are passionate about an issue - especially if you know it affects your future. Speak up, fight back!

Bella is using her voice to motivate other children and help make change. This World Children’s Day she is guest speaking at the UWA Children’s Voice conference in Perth. The event is run by children for children as a platform to express their ideas about matters that are important to them in the world and in their futures. 

See below how you can get involved too!
 
© UNICEFAustralia
WCD WCD
WCD

Get involved:

This World Children’s Day, we’re asking every child
to tell the world how they’d change the world. 

Whatever issue you’re passionate about, from equality
to the environment to education, World Children’s Day
is the time to have your say on how you’d change
the world for the better. 

 

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