The student behind UN’s climate resolution vote

STORY: This Pacific Island student helped push a historic U.N. resolution

calling for the world's top court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)

to define countries' legal obligations to combat climate change

Locator: Sydney, Australia

(Cynthia Houniuhi / Law student and activist)

"So I grew up in a remote part of the Solomon Islands, I was surrounded by the environment a lot. I was in the sea after school, I had to cross the sea to go to school and during lunch time we usually fished for our own lunch. So being here on the beach, really brings back those memories and kind of re-emphasized for me sort of the reason why we're doing this, why this initiative is very important, it's because of what we've experienced as child and children and we want our children to be able to do that."

The resolution now goes to the ICJ

which could take 18 months to issue an advisory opinion

"I was trying to figure out how to navigate the English language at that level and imagine saying, 'UN', it's very, that's up there you know and I come from a very small town and we have less access, not too much access to the outside world. We're aware of the outside world but we don't have that much access and how do I get there? Tell me, if you're telling me if I one day I'll be with a group initiating this UN resolution, tell me how because I don't see it, if you were telling me that time".

"There, our culture is so intertwined with the environment that if it's gone, if our land's gone, what will I say is part of my children's heritage, you know? Like, what is that? I want to be able to look into, if I'm lucky, my child's eye and say, we did try, you know, we did try."