Jess is warning over 'life or death' climate change after visit to Brussels

PUBLISHED: 11:01 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:41 24 April 2019

Jess with European Commission vice president Maroš Šefcovic. Picture: Nicky Turnbull

Jess with European Commission vice president Maroš Šefcovic. Picture: Nicky Turnbull

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Jess Nicholls, 14, was one of six teenagers invited to speak to the vice president of the European Commission about climate change

Jess (holding the selfie stick) with the other representatives at the Europesn Commission in Brussels. Picture: Jennifer Jacquemart.Jess (holding the selfie stick) with the other representatives at the Europesn Commission in Brussels. Picture: Jennifer Jacquemart.

Climate change is a matter of 'life or death' according to a teenage activist from Exmouth who represented the country at a summit with European leaders.

On Tuesday (April 24), 14-year-old Jess Nicholls was one of six teenagers invited to meet with Maroš Šefčovič, the vice president of the European Commission, in Brussels.

Along with representatives from Denmark, Ireland, Holland, Belgium and Hungary, Jess quizzed Mr Šefčovič on what he and the European Commission are doing on climate change.

The meeting was live streamed on the commission's website and was conducted inside an electric, autonomous minibus.

Jess Nicholls at the European Commission in Brussels. Picture: Nicky TurnbullJess Nicholls at the European Commission in Brussels. Picture: Nicky Turnbull

Speaking after the meeting, Jess – who earlier this month helped organise a climate change rally which saw 2,000 students march through Exeter – wants to see real change come from this meeting.

She said: “It's encouraging to see that someone with significant power and ability to instigate change has reached out to the young people taking action to prevent this crisis.

“We [she and the other activists] have decided we are going to keep trying to chase it up. We are going to make sure change comes from this.

“It was a good talk – sadly we didn't have enough time to talk about the details we needed to but it was a start.

Jess Nicholls (right) with Greta Thunberg who kick started the global climate change campaign. Picture: Nicky TurnbullJess Nicholls (right) with Greta Thunberg who kick started the global climate change campaign. Picture: Nicky Turnbull

“It is good for raising public awareness – so many people don't know about or choose to ignore the problem but the issue is so important – it really is a matter of life and death.”

On Monday, Jess was in London to meet 16-year-old Greta Thunberg who is credited with kick starting a series of global strikes by school pupils over climate change.

Jess, who attends the ISCA Academy in Exeter, said: “I have always been aware of climate change and what it's doing but wasn't aware of the full extent.

“When I heard about Greta I wasn't immediately proactive but it made me act.

“A lot of people have false hope that if they say nothing, something will happen.

“I thought we had to act before it's too late.”

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