I was “steeped in” engineering from the day I was born. Our family vacation albums probably have as many pictures of structures for the sake of their engineering feats as those of landscapes or us enjoying ourselves.
But there is no way in hell that at age 12, I would have been able to stand in front of an international audience of World Leaders and talk about the importance of retrofitting and earthquake engineering standards as a way to save lives, especially in impoverished nations where there are more likely to be massive deaths due to unsound building practices. I would have peed my pants in front of all those Very Important People.
The point of her getting up and speaking wasn’t that she should be taken more seriously because she’s the daughter of an environmentalist, it was to put a face to the abstract idea of, “won’t someone think of the children?” If you actually watch and listen to her, you will see and hear that she talks like a typical 12 year old. She actually thought that if countries stopped spending money on wars, they could send that “extra” money to poor countries and solve all their problems. As adults, we know those are the notions of a child. We (and they) aren’t or weren’t listening to her for solutions and that isn’t what she was trying to offer up.
She was standing up there saying, “Look at me. I’M the child who will one day INHERIT whatever mess you grownups are making today. So, [in child-speak], if you don’t know how to fix it [whatever “it” is – war, the environment, poverty, rain forest destruction, whatever], then PLEASE don’t break it, because I’M the one who will have to fix it LATER.”
Your father doesn’t have to be a famous scientist for you to wish to articulate that message. Lots of kids understand that concept. This one just had the confidence to go before the United Nations and say so. I think that’s pretty incredible for a 12 year old. YMMV.