Our common humanity

On boarding our flight in Nuuk yesterday morning, we noticed a small face peering through the circular plane window. She was a sweet little girl – most likely two years old – travelling with her mother to Kangerlussuaq.

During take off, the little girl burst into tears. She was terrified of the fast propellers on each side of the small 30-seater aircraft. In her state of fear and distress, I showed her some pictures on my phone and she began to relax. I found out her name was Livi.

Livi is an indigenous person, or ‘Inuit’, of Greenland. She didn’t speak any English (and I can’t speak a word of Greenlandic!), but we ended up playing for over an hour. Livi’s fear completely dissolved once we began playing games.

It’s experiences like this that remind me of our common humanity – the desire we all share to be happy and connected, and live free from fear and suffering. Meeting Livi also reminded me of the reason we are on this trip. Addressing climate change is a responsibility shared by people of all ages and nationalities, and a challenge we can only overcome by working together. Through recognising our shared humanity, we can dissolve cultural barriers and unite to create the kind of world we want to live in.

Because at the end the day, no matter where you come from or what language you speak, we all seek to live safe, happy and free lives – and tackling our climate crisis is fundamental in fulfilling that desire.

About the Author Thomas King

mm

Bestselling author, gold medal Olympian and award winning actor; I’m absolutely none of these things! I am, however, a passionate social justice campaigner, animal rights advocate and nature fanatic, and Victoria’s 2015 Young Australian of the Year.

I first became involved in campaigning in 2010 at age 13, when I founded SayNotoPalmOil.com – a site that today informs over half a million consumers annually from more than 200 countries about the impacts of unsustainable palm oil development in South-East Asia. I’ve since held positions within organisations like Oaktree, the Jane Goodall Institute Australia and the youth division of the United Nations as an advocate in environmental preservation, animal protection and poverty eradication.

I’ve been lucky to experience and see some amazing things through my work over the last 6 years. From living with indigenous communities in the heart of the Bornean jungle to establish conservation projects; to leading a campaign that raised 1.6 million dollars to alleviate extreme poverty; I even volunteered as a journalist at the London Olympic Games to report on athletes from developing nations so that their families at home could track their performance.

After graduating high school last year, I was fortunate enough to receive the titles of Victorian Young Australian of the Year and VCE Leader of the Year last year, and I’m now 19 and work as a speaker and campaigner at Animals Australia – Australia’s foremost animal protection organisation. It’s my belief that no matter who you are or what your age, everybody has the ability to create a profound impact.


What do you think?