Children of the world unite to save their planet

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The Independent Online
As the celebrations for the United Nations' 50th birthday continued in New York yesterday, a more radical conference began in Eastbourne, East Sussex. Nearly 800 children from 90 countries met to try to find solutions to save the planet from "environmental catastrophe".

There were no power struggles or squabbles over funding. There were no grand visions of global power politics; the focus was on bottom- up solutions.

The International Conference for Children on the Environment, partly sponsored by the UN, was aimed at creating a nucleus of children full of ideas, to go out and tackle local problems.

Many of the solutions put forward were far too radical and simple to be accepted by world leaders. But delegates from the Bahamas and South Africa described how they had cleaned beaches by organising litter patrols and recycling schemes. And junior school pupils from Austria showed how they had built a solar panel to heat water for their gym.

Most of the delegates believed: "If you make a mess you should clear it up."