Francisco Vera, an 11-year-old living in Colombia, is getting both positive and negative attention for his work as an environmental activist. He’s even being compared to Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, best known for her passionate stance against climate change around the world.
When he was nine, Vera founded Guardianes Por La Vida (Guardians of Life). As the founder, he spoke in front of Colombian legislators in 2019. The group has 11 chapters and 200 members in Colombia.
“I consider myself an environmental activist and an activist in favor of life, but I started as an animal rights activist,” Vera told Miami news channel Local 10.
Unfortunately, Vera, like Thunberg, has become the target of death threats. In mid-January, he was threatened on Twitter with extreme violence. Colombian President Ivan Duque promised his government would identify “the bandits” who sent Vera the disturbing message. This, however, doesn’t seem to have stopped Vera from his mission to tell the world why climate change should be a priority.
“Adults should not be the only ones who discuss big topics” Vera told the Associated Press. “Children need to have a voice, too, because people who are making choices today will be gone soon and we will have to deal with the consequences.”
His mother, Ana Maria Manzanares, fully supports him and wants him to make his own decisions about how far he wants to take his activism.
“I want him to be aware that he is doing something that is very valuable,“ Manzanares says. “It is possible for him and thousands of children around the world to change things.”