I especially found Mary Robinson to be a compelling speaker – she spoke about the injustice of climate change and the necessity of presenting this issue as a people centered problem. Initially climate change was presented as a scientific issue symbolized through images such as a homeless polar bear or a melting glacier. However, this is the wrong approach we want to taking if we want to create an effective global movement. Instead we should portray climate change in the human context: such as a poor farmer, or the communities of small island nations that will soon be underwater and homeless – we need to make this paradigm shift.
Dessima Williams, like Mary Robinson, urged youth to “get angry” and create a movement. She appreciated all the work the youth have done at COP18 thus far and stated, “there is a fair amount of resources among us”. Nonetheless she still stressed the importance of recruiting and expanding our activist network in order to make the youth constituency as large, organized, and effective as possible.
After the “Intergenerational Inquiry” I helped other YOUNGO members with the action pictured below. Once the action was completed and the mass of media people, spectators, and interested negotiators had cleared out, I ran up to the food court to meet with my Finance subgroup. We finalized a lobby document concerning the Green Climate Fund and how its finances should be allocated. Here is an example of what is included in the text.
The growing rate of expanding infrastructure present in most vulnerable countries requires that the Green Climate Fund be allocated towards building a Green Economy. By laying the foundations for a Green Economy, jobs in steady and sustainable fields will be ensured for a demographic that is currently experiencing great challenges entering the job market – that is, the youth. Furthermore, it is essential that we incorporate the values, opinions, and challenges that Indigenous peoples face while considering the allocations of the Green Climate Fund. This can be most effectively achieved if a representative of Indigenous peoples can have a position in the GCF directory board. In addition, there needs to be accountability that the Green Climate Fund and the NGOs, institutions, and organizations the money is allotted to are subject to the same safeguards. By implementing these values, both communities and the private sector will be accounted for in the allocation of the Green Climate Fund.
The final event on my agenda for the day was an event co-sponsored by the U.S. State Department and youth delegates from the Sierra Student Coalition and SustainUS. This event focused on first hand accounts of climate change in communities across the US. From the record setting forest fires in Colorado to the massive flooding in Vermont last summer, youth across the country are experiencing serious dangers associated with climate change. Although these natural disasters may not solely be the cause of climate change, the trending severity and frequency of extreme weather events across the globe is not natural and suggests that some other factor (climate change) is causing this irregularity.