Taiss, a 13-year-old climate activist living among a river community in the Amazon rainforest, has the honour of being the youngest participant at Cop28.
She is one of three children with their minders at the climate summit, who were able to come to Dubai courtesy of the Irish Government.
Through an interpreter, she told The Irish Times that as a citizen of the Kamba people living in Manacapuru, the Brazilian state of Amazonas, she was a climate campaigner within a movement to highlight the need protect indigenous people. “I was raised as someone in that movement; I want to die as someone part of that movement.”
Her father Casaka is a community leader known as a tuxaua who also highlights environmental issues, she explains, which is what inspired her to highlight concerns about their way of life and the impact of global warming on their region.
She speaks to her peers in local schools, highlighting how climate disruption is harming their way of life, she adds, and mounts social media campaigns to raise awareness of her people “to show how they protect the environment”.
The most immediate climate change impacts are on food production, she says. They have to travel further to get food, while fish are less plentiful due to lack of oxygen in the water.
Taiss has participated in numerous events and discussion groups, especially among young people. “It has been amazing, sharing knowledge, what I think, and getting ideas from other countries.”
Among her Cop28 highlights, she says, were meeting Brazil’s first minister for indigenous peoples Sônia Guajajara - one of Time magazine’s 100 influential people in 2022 - and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin.
She says is really grateful to the Irish people for the opportunity to come with a team led by the NGO World Vision. “I hope to continue helping children; young people and women to have more opportunities like this, to have a voice and visibility; to be able to participate more.”
She is looking forward in particular to Cop30 in two years’ time which will be in Brazil, when she hopes indigenous peoples will be at the heart of discussions.