Pato Kelesitse is one of eight young people chosen from thousands across the globe, to represent the world’s youth at the UN Climate Summit on the 23 September 2014. Pato, who left Botswana this weekend to head to New York, impressed the organisers of the Climate Reality Project with her YouTube video asking global leaders why they are not making climate change their number one priority.
She will be attending alongside 120 heads of state, including US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Pato was selected to attend the Summit after entering The Climate Reality Project’s Why? Why Not? campaign which was spear headed by former US Vice President Al Gore. Her submission was chosen from thousands all over the world, winning her a place amongst seven other representatives from Brazil, Australia, India (two representatives), the Philippines, the UK and the US, being the only African youth selected to represent. The campaign called upon youths to become a voice of their generation by creating a short video asking their government ‘Why?’ and ‘Why Not?’ when it comes to acting on climate change.
“I posted a question on YouTube posing a Why? and Why Not? Question to world leaders in regards to their in/actions in regards to the climate and the changes it is undergoing. When I participated I did hope to win, but I wasn’t too confident because there were entries from countries like the UK, USA and India. So it came as a surprise when I was one of the 7 winners and the only one from all of Africa,” she said.
Her main concern which she says she will address at the summit is of ‘energy and the use of fossil fuel to generate energy.’ her mission upon returning from the summit she says is “to educate relevant stakeholders on how to get the youth interested so that next time we will also have a lot of videos submitted for participation at the climate change summit”.
A Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Accounting and Finance final year undergrad at Botswana Accountancy College, Pato stated that the opportunity to attend the summit means that she has a platform to raise awareness on climate change and hopefully sensitize people to the horrors the world is facing and hopefully inspire a change in attitude towards environmental and climate matters. Pato’s name is common in arts and drama circles as co-founder of Art is Love, a social enterprise focused on raising awareness on social issues in Botswana, through different forms of art. In collaboration with her first love, she had this to say about addressing the climate issues through theatre which she hopes to do, “You can use theatre to communicate any message for example HIV, and it is the same with climate. Theatre always merges with whatever you want it to.
Her winning video is on her You Tube account named Pato Kelesitse.