Press release | 14.11.2016

Europe’s children demand UN Climate Summit delegates be better role models

Green Footprints of 175,000 children presented to UN Climate Secretariat head Patricia Espinosa in Marrakech on 14 November

Marrakech / Frankfurt, 14 November 2016. Climate action shouldn’t only be left to the grown-ups. Today, Climate Alliance presented the climate protection efforts of 174,624 children spread over 10 countries to UN Climate Secretariat Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. The children earned a total of 1,741,200 “green footprints” within the framework of Climate Alliance’s ZOOM campaign by making climate-friendly trips to school, saving energy in their classrooms, eating regional foods and choosing notebooks made with recycled paper. The handover of the footprints along with the children’s wishes and demands for the future took place during the 22nd Climate Summit currently being held in Marrakech.

“These 1.7 million green footprints represent the efforts and engagement of children in over 1100 schools, kindergartens and other day-care facilities,” stressed Climate Alliance Austria Director Markus Hafner-Auinger while presenting the green footprints along with the children's concrete wishes and demands to Ms Espinosa. “Today we are not only here to celebrate how much the ZOOM Kids already did – we are asking you, Ms Espinosa, to relay the children’s messages to the delegates of COP22. They want them to be better role models and fill the Paris Agreement with both concrete and creative climate action – much like the children do in their schools and at home with their parents.”

Especially prominent this year amongst the children’s demands was the recognition of a need for action. The children asked UN Climate Conference participants to bring the Paris Agreement to life through their policies. Messages sent by many of the older children also highlighted the understanding that they will have to pay for today’s weak regulations, as will their own children in the future. Hafner-Auinger, in the company of UN Youth Delegates and local as well as national representatives of participating ZOOM countries, invited Executive Secretary Espinosa to deliver these important messages to the delegates of the conference.

Climate Alliance’s ZOOM – Kids on the Move campaign has been helping children learn about sustainability and the climate since 2002 during special activity weeks throughout the school year. Through the campaign, which is open to interested educational facilities in Europe and beyond, children send messages to their communities, work with their teachers to contact their local politicians and express their hopes to international leaders at the annual UN Climate Summits.

This year, children from Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Sweden called upon politicians at all levels to serve as better role models for climate action. Their “wishprints” for the climate politicians were filled with demands and hopes such as, "I want all food to come by sailboat, because they run on the wind and that does not make any emissions," "Please make sure there are less exhaust fumes," "We need plants - they make oxygen for us," and "Everybody should be happy. Everybody should have a good life.” The clear message for legislators: Act now to save our climate!

Further information and photos


Claudia Schury
Climate Alliance, ZOOM Coordinator | T. +49 69 717 139 -22 | c.schury(at)    

Sarah Mekjian
Climate Alliance, Communications | T. +49 69 717 139 -20 | s.mekjian(at)


Since 2002, ZOOM has been helping children across Europe learn about the influences of their daily actions on the climate and encouraging them to become role models for both their parents and climate politicians. During at least a one week period, children in participating classes collect so-called ‘green footprints’ for every sustainable trip completed via public transport, bike or foot as well as for other environmentally-friendly habits such as sustainable nutrition. These footprints are presented to the participants and politicians at the UNFCCC’s annual Climate Conferences.