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Weekly Digest #64

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

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In this digest-

1. (WITH GUEST CONTRUBITIONS!) COP26 – What Teens Want From World Leaders: More Action, Less Politics

2. Happiness Quotient from around the world

3. Did you Know

4. This Week in History

5. Entertainment Quotient

-Cover Story-

COP26 – What Teens Want From World Leaders: More Action, Less Politics

By: Agastya Rao (with inputs from Aishwarya Pande,15)

One world, one dream. We hear this a lot- in songs, in speeches, in lectures. In the backdrop of the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (“COP26”), it is time to evaluate what teens, who will inherit this world, expect from our world leaders.

If you heard the rousing speech by 15-year old Vinisha Umashankar at the Conference, you will be familiar with her phrase “we will act even if you delay.” She spoke on behalf of millions of teenagers from all over the world. Unless you have been living under a literal rock, you will be familiar with Greta Thunberg and the impact she has had not only on teens around the globe, but also by making world leaders sit up and take notice of the voice of the younger generation. Greta called the ongoing COP26 “a celebration of business as usual and blah blah…”

We at The Paperless Press remain hopeful that the outcome of COP26 will be much more than empty words. The world deserves leaders who do not deny the real threat of climate change. Thankfully, one such leader no longer leads a major country and that in itself is a big step. We teens have a voice, and we deserve to be heard. Nature Magazine recently said that world leaders would be wise to listen to “… emerging generation of young climate scientists.”

Here is a quick look at what teens want from their leaders currently at COP26:

· Less talk, more action. We cannot overstate this, and this is the primary demand from teenagers. We are only too used to seeing promises being made, without action following those promises. Unfortunately, we are in a state of climate emergency and no longer have the luxury of wishing away “typical politicians’ attitudes of all word and no action.”

· Concrete plans from countries to become carbon neutral. Deadlines need to be respected and concrete action plans, in consultation with all stakeholders, need to be presented.

· No rehashing of decisions already made (for instance, limiting warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, which was already decided at Paris 2015

· Real firm steps to stop the gas chambers we are currently living in. Those who live in Delhi NCR will be nodding their heads as they read this – the memories of horrifying post-Diwali AQI numbers are only too fresh in our minds

· Fulfilling previously made commitments, such as the commitment by richer countries at COP15 to provide financial assistance (“climate finance”) to less wealthy countries

· Priority for the earth, without being affected by politics. Yes, we acknowledge there is an economic divide in the world and there will always be disagreements on which country pollutes more, which country can afford to help others, which ones need a leeway in carbon emission numbers and so on. None of this should take away from the fact that saving the earth should be the first priority, like a triage situation in a medical emergency.

· Hard choices (which may be unpopular with leaders’ vote banks) and perhaps a relook at economic priorities versus the future of the planet

· Support from the most powerful for innovative, green ideas. Those who have the means, whether it is countries or corporations, must put their financial might behind innovative ideas, so that they become financially viable on a large scale.

· Many studies have shown that climate change has an excessively negative impact on girls’ education and lives (by increasing the barriers they already face, e.g. learning disruptions due to natural disasters and lack of funds, lack of access to food and hygiene products, among others.) It is, therefore, important to simultaneously address the needs of girls while we focus on climate.

· 17 year old Max Fulham from Dublin was quoted as addressing the world leaders to “think global but act local” in the fight against climate change. Inspired by his words, we also believe that the big decisions should be global but should be adapted to suit local requirements.

· 15 year old Aishwarya makes an interesting and very pertinent observation. She says that the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic caused an unprecedented rise in demand for face masks and sanitizers, as well as an increase in online shopping. Most of these masks and sanitizers, as well as shopping boxes are non-recyclable and end up in landfills. She goes on to add that, while we do need to prioritise the battle against Covid, we definitely need a solution for these by-products that are adding to already toxic landfills.

· Another aspect highlighted by Aishwarya is the issue of overfishing that can cause the marine ecosystem to be harmfully impacted. Increasing population levels have increased our reliance on the marine world and we need a workable solution to ensure that a balance is maintained.

We are sure our readers have many more thoughts on this. Do write in to us on the actions you would like COP26 to take. In the words of one of the many posters at a climate change protest by students, “Act now or swim later” is our message to world leaders.

PS: Next week we bring to you the Hits and Misses of the COP-26 Summit


By: Abhimanyu Rao

1. Wang Yaping became the first Chinese woman to complete a spacewalk and carried out tests alongside the space station. A great inspiration for girls who aspire to be astronauts someday, and awe inspiring for all of us.

2. Education is the best gift one can provide. You will be amazed to read about Mr Harekala Hajabba who is an orange vendor from Mangalore and a recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri awards last week. Despite being illiterate himself, he started a school in the Harekala-Newpadpu village that is currently providing an education to 175 underprivileged children. The Paperless Press salutes this great human being.

3. Imagine a scenario where sharks had their very own superhighway, with no humans to disrupt their routine! In one of the positives from the ongoing COP26, the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor was unveiled as a joint conservation initiative by 4 Latin American countries (Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador.) This 500,000 square km marine reserve in the South Pacific will help whale sharks, leatherback turtles and other endangered species that have been harmed by overfishing.

4. In yet another positive news from COP26, over 100 countries have signed an agreement to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030.

5. To help bookshops recover and compete against online behemoths such as Amazon that can deliver books for negligible costs, the French government is contemplating law that will set a minimum cost for delivering books.


By: Mihir Rao

1. More Planet News!! Our Earth is still a big mystery, as evident by a new finding: Our core is not what we thought it was. Scientists previously believed that the core of the Earth consisted of solid iron, but recent findings have proven otherwise. After conducting some tests, Rhett Butler concluded that the Earth’s core actually has some liquid and some solid parts too. If our understanding of the Earth can be changed like this, who knows what mysteries lie within..

2. NASA predicts that we will have a lunar eclipse soon. However, this is not just any lunar eclipse;

This is the longest lunar eclipse that we have had in a century! The eclipse, predicted to last for roughly 3 hours and 28 minutes, will take place on the 19th of November at 4 AM Eastern Time, or 1:30 PM here in India. So if you won’t be able to see this event in your home, NASA will be livestreaming the entire eclipse for everyone to watch.

3. Indian astronomers have found a new way to study planets’ atmospheres! Two scientists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics have developed a python based program that will take in a number of factors and use them to calculate the amount of polarisation at different places on the planet. By studying this data, the atmosphere’s chemical composition, among other things, can be revealed!

4. The Otto Celera 500L is a prototype of a new kind of plane. However the thing that is the most special about this plane is its aerodynamics. Built in a way that makes it look kind of like a stretched out egg, this plane drastically reduces laminar flow. Since the plane can move smoothly through the air now, it doesn’t need as much power as other planes, which also cuts down on the fuel usage. Although the plane is currently using a diesel engine, the plane has cut down over 80% of carbon emissions over other competitive aircrafts.

5. A new species of a rare tadpole carrying frog has been recently discovered in New South Wales! After some research, this frog is actually a close relative of Assa darlingtoni, or hip pocket frogs. These frogs are actually quite rare, as the males of this species actually carry their tadpoles in pouches on their hips. Just to paint a picture of how rare these frogs really are, only 4 of 4000 species of frogs worldwide have the males carry tadpoles this way! The small frog is in danger of the impacts of climate change, so it is under protection for now.



By: Mihir Rao!

1. Marie Curie, a world-renowned physicist, was born on this day. She did many experiments and discovered 2 new elements, polonium (named after her home country Poland) and radium.

2. Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States. During his term, he modernised the U.S economy, and he abolished slavery.


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