Conference of the Youth Group Photo! (Courtesy of Helena Evoxic)
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Today was the second day of the COY. There were two really informative workshops in the morning on LULUCF and REDD which I attended. I found out about the youth forest movement which has strong links with the Ecosystems Coalition and advocates for fair and effective REDD and LULUCF regulations.
We had a big group photo at lunch time and then a regional breakout session where all the Aussies and Kiwis met and spoke about the respective organisations from the Antipodeans. There was also discussion of collaborating on policy and lobbying, particularly as our two governments carefully follow each others' climate change developments.
We then split up into working groups. I felt a bit awkward as I'm not really involved in the activism side of the conference but I went along to the Youth Forest Working Group as they seemed organised and I am interested in what they are lobbying for and I believe in what they are lobbying for – forest management to be included in a LULUCF deal; full, prior, informed consent of Indigenous people for REDD.
In the closing session we heard from the International CEO of Greenpeace who was a student activist during apartheid and fled into exile as a consequence of his activism. He was very passionate and inspirational (although he did seem to quote every cliché in the book – from the Creo saying "Only when the last tree has been cut down and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish caught, will we realise that money cannot be eaten" to Martin Luther King and Gandhi!).
The COY was rewarding because I got a very brief look into the huge youth movement across the world. I realised that it wasn't just crazy, environmentalist hippies who were interested in climate change but young people like me and my friends who realise that we are the ones who are going to be around in 2050, and not all the politicians who are choosing to commit to 2050 targets which means they won't be accountable since they'll be dead.
Some young people have been to negotiations since Nairobi, others have been fasting since Barcelona and even others have never been involved in international negotiations but have been active at home for years. It makes me feel bad that I know so little and have done so little.