Syosset Student Speaks Out At UN Summit

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More than 100 world leaders and 30,000 delegates were in attendance

Sabrina Guo speaks out at UN Summit, and performs her winning poem.
(Photo courtesy of Sabrina Guo)

Syosset student Sabrina Guo had the opportunity to represent Long Island at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, UK.

Guo entered an international poetry competition, Poems to Solve the Climate Crisis Challenge, managed by The Poetry Society of UK’s global Young Poets Network partnered with People Need Nature.

Poets aged 7-25 from 23 countries worldwide sent poem submissions. “I’m the youngest global winner and was invited to speak out against climate injustice and perform my winning poetry at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference,” Guo stated.

There were travel restrictions due to COVID-19; those who won from outside of the UK could only virtually participate.

“I am extremely proud to represent the USA and put my hometown, the Town of Oyster Bay, on the world map in a UN Global Summit,” said Guo. “My winning work is inspired by all those in my community who tirelessly worked to keep our neighborhoods clean, beautiful and green. My poem is a tribute to our sanitation workers and custodians who have received none to little recognition throughout this COVID pandemic, when they worked under toxic and dangerous conditions, with some passing away after contracting COVID on the job.”

She has firsthand experience with seeing the effects of climate change on a daily basis because her hometown contains the most contaminated drinking water in New York State. Guo seeks to shine light on the effects of climate change on people who are more vulnerable, and lack the necessary resources to manage such change.

Sir David Attenborough, a world renowned broadcaster and natural historian, had the young poets respond to his opening speech at the UN Summit with their poems.

Jonnie Hughes, the director of the film that accompanied Attenborough’s speech, commented on Guo’s poem. “A mini-epic that charts the changes that have, are, and that may happen over generations – the grand narrative that all alive now play a part in. There is suffering here, but also that vital force – hope, as we glimpse an aspirational future.”

Guo appreciated having her voice heard, and the experience she gained from being invited to the UN Summit. “It’s been an exhilarating and enriching experience to be invited to such an enormously powerful platform like an UN Global Summit, to make my voice matter, showcase my talent, and represent youth from New York, USA.”

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