Reflections of Wongderful Adventures in Brokenhagen

Chaos at COP15! (Photo courtesy of Farhad Pocha)

Ah, that's better. The 2009 Climate Change Science and Policy Field School Class at COP15. (Courtesy of Farhad)

Friday 29 January 2010

It's been over a month since the end of COP15 and our ANU course. I'm in New York City, staying with my host family from my high school exchange. It's been almost five years since that experience and I'm still reflecting on how that experience has affected me and shaped my subsequent experiences. Similarly, I am sure that my experiences at COP15 will continue to be a part of me and impact me in unforseen ways. I experienced so much during those brief two weeks.

ANU Course

I would not have been in Copenhagen at COP15 without ANU, Janette, Kiri, Shannon and the Climate Change Science and Policy Field School. It was the best ANU course I have ever taken. I feel like I can say that definitively because of all that I learnt in such a brief period of time. I only wish that more university courses were "hands on". Laura said on the day of our presentations, "I've learnt more in this two week course than I have in the past four years of my degree." If you substitute "two years" into the "four years" part, I would agree! I also really enjoyed my classmates' company. I loved the conversations we had about climate change and not climate change.

As an Asian Studies/Law student, most of my courses are very specific and examine aspects of the law and Asia. It was refreshing to take a science and policy course on climate change, an issue we have not covered in any of my other courses in my degree. As I'm in the United States at the moment, I have been catching up with old friends from my school I went to on exchange and meeting other young Americans. Many of them are at university taking general undergraduate degrees. Prior to taking ENVS3001, I thought their degrees very broad and somewhat of a waste of time. What is the point of doing general courses if you know what you want to study? After experiencing ENVS3001, I really understand the value of a general, undergraduate degree where you have the opportunity to take a variety of courses. It is good for the brain to be stretched in different directions through different areas of study. It is good for the student not to be locked into studying one, specific area, generally at the age of 18 or 19. It has been good for me to learn as much as I can about a variety of different issues surrounding climate change. It engages me with the world and allows me to approach my speciality, Asian Studies and Law, from other angles. For example, now I am interested in studying International Environmental Law. When I go on exchange to China, I would be interested in getting involved with the Chinese Youth Climate Coalition.

Taking the pre-requisite course, Climate Change Science and Policy was a solid introduction to some of the issues of climate change. It covered the science of climate change which I believe is an important foundation for people interested in climate change (which should be everyone!). It also gave us an introduction to some aspects of climate change policy. I know I will spend my whole life learning about climate change because it is such an enormous issue. (As an aside, I met a girl at COP15 who is taking a minor in climate change at her American university. I am surprised I have not heard of an undergraduate climate change major at any Australian university.) But taking this follow up course provided me with the opportunity to really get a crash course in climate change science and policy.

What I learnt

In the two weeks, I learnt about technology transfer from a student from ETH Zurich whom I met at the IARU day; I learnt about the Clean Development Mechanism from a girl from India who is involved with the implementation of CDM in her region; I learnt about the UNFCCC process from a French law student who specialises in international environmental law; I learnt about Australia's ETS, its strategy to divide the Liberal Party and its flaws from an Australian guy who is writing his thesis on it; I learnt about the Yasuni Initiative from a Dutch girl who is in Ecuador working on the project; I learnt about REDD and LULUCF from The Wilderness Society, Masters and PhD students, Indigenous people who have directly been affected by the programs. Getting involved in the International Youth Forest Working Group was the best thing I did at COP15. Not only did I learn so much about forests, Indigenous rights, REDD and LULUCF, I was also able to closely track the REDD negotiations at COP15. It provided me with an opportunity to see how NGOs lobby negotiators; I saw how a text can evolve; I saw how NGOs can get their text into the official text; I learnt that lobbying involves not only talking to delegates but also doing actions, dressing up in silly costumes, singing songs, standing in silence, using the media and encouraging as many people as possible to learn about the issue and lobby people they know.

I learnt about different countries' attitudes towards tackling climate change. I learnt about great Dutch recycling programs for all households. I learnt about the terrible Canadian tarsands. I learnt about how my friend from Zimbabwe does not know when the rain will come which affects his family's ability to grow crops. These are just a snapshot of the conversations I had about climate change policy with other young people at COP15.

I also learnt so much from the side events and workshops I attended at COP15. There were so many to choose from every single day. I also learnt from speeches I heard from university lecturers, UNICEF, UNITAR, international lawyers, scientists, activists, young people and some of the global leaders of climate change including Al Gore, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri (Chair of the IPCC), Ban Ki-Moon (UN Secretary General), Yvo De Boer (Executive Secretariat of the UNFCCC), Laurence Pollier (UNFCCC Secretariat for Youth at COP15) and other scientists, academics and policy makers from universities around the world.

I learnt about inspiring initiatives from every corner of the world ranging from: 350ppm campaigns, roadtrips through different countries with the aim of learning and engaging about climate change, the use of technology and the internet to link up broader civil society to COP15 and climate change movements, Global North fundraising for the Global South to come to COP15, the list goes on and on.

I learnt you can learn things from everyone and I learnt that the more people and experiences you engage with, the more you learn. For example, it was only through making friends with other young people at COP15 that I heard about the Penny Wong briefing five minutes prior to it beginning.

Perhaps most importantly I learnt that climate change is something that doesn't end at COP15. Climate change is something me, my friends, my generation and future generations will be dealing with for our lifetimes. The earlier more people start to learn about and engage with it, the better. Because the reality is that we will all have to learn about and engage with it throughout our lifetimes.

Official Negotiations and Outcome

The official negotiations were a joke. I was so embarrassed to be at a conference which wasted so many peoples' time and resources. Don't get me wrong, I got a lot out of COP15 and I'm sure many of the participants did. In fact, I would argue that one of the best things to come out of COP15 was the global climate change movement of civil society and the momentum COP15 gave it.

But in terms of the official negotiations, I was shocked at the way they worked. I was shocked at the stalling techniques that different countries (developed and developing) used. If you read a couple of the blog entries I wrote during the conference, you'll be able to see the particular examples I am talking about. I was shocked at Australia's negotiators and I was embarrassed to be an Australian at the conference. Going to COP15 has made me very interested in climate change and the global movement. Going to COP15 has also made me very disinterested in ever working for the Department of Climate Change.

I went into COP15 hearing that a legally binding deal would not come out of the conference. I spent the whole conference hoping that would not be the case. But indeed, a very, very weak deal came out of COP15. It is "politically binding" which means countries can commit to voluntary targets. They are supposed to announce their commitments by February 1 so I will be interested to see what happens with that. I was unimpressed at China and the US. Both of them knew they would be instrumental in getting a strong deal at COP15 and used it to their advantage to manipulate the situation in favour of themselves. The commentaries say REDD was the "feel good" story of COP15 because there was an improvement in the REDD text. I don't think it is acceptable for negotiators and heads of state to hide behind something like REDD which is really just one, small aspect of tackling climate change. All in all, the official negotiations and outcome were very disappointing.


I was secretly delighted when I saw the assessment for this course. I have kept a diary since we had to keep a "Year 1 holiday journal" in 1995 for school. I would have kept a diary regardless of whether or not I was being assessed on it. I like writing during something intense like COP15 so I can gather my thoughts throughout the conference. I like writing so that after the fact I can go back and read about how I was feeling and what I experience from my perspective. I also like the idea that one day, in twenty or thirty years, I will be able to look back on an experience with a biased clarity! Even re-reading my blog has been revealing. For example, you can see the emotional rollercoaster of COP15 and how tired, jubilant, disheartened, enthusiastic, excited, shocked, overwhelmed I was during COP15, reflected in my blog entries.

Since I have never kept a blog before, I was apprehensive but decided the blog format would be the best format for my digital diary and would provide me with the opportunity to learn a new set of skills. And learn a new set of skills I did! I learnt how to upload videos onto Youtube, use Google's Picasa, use and use Google search to teach it all to me! I'm really happy I decided to use a blog rather than just a Word document which is something I can already do. Who knows, maybe I'll keep this blog for future Wongderful adventures!


This reflection sounds really corny but I have never enjoyed writing a paper as much as the paper I am currently writing. It was been really difficult as I am still travelling and have been lugging around a backpack worth of materials from COP15 for my report. It has also been difficult to find time to write the report as I've been staying with different friends and family and there's always something to distract me. But once I sit down to write, I enjoy being able to write about first hand experiences. I enjoy not having to constantly refer to academic literature. I enjoy being able to tie in different aspects of COP15 into my report – side events, workshops, activities, negotiation sessions, etc.

The most enjoyable aspect of the report has been the opportunity for me to interview people for it. I started doing interviews informally at the Conference of the Youth (COY) before COP15 even started. I continued chatting to people about my topic, Youth Participation, throughout COP15. I made some contacts including the UNFCCC Secretariat for Youth at COP15, Seb who was the primary driver of YOUNGO receiving youth constituency for the first time at COP15 and Aiden who was the one paid employee of YOUNGO, YOUNGO's community catalyst. Post COP15, I have been in frequent contact with these three people and I have also emailed and skyped with several other people who are heavily involved in the international youth climate movement (IYCM). I have been so touched at how much time people have given me. Some people have literally given me hours and hours of their time.

I've been learning a lot for my report but I have also been learning about the history and nature of the IYCM. The more I learn, the more I realise how enormous it is. The more I learn, the more I realise how many different ways you can get involved. One aspect of my report is about capacity building, particularly for the Global South. One element of this is collecting documents from different youth networks about the basics of climate change, the history of the IYCM, the structure of YOUNGO, etc. Aiden was telling me how much difficulty he has been having collecting the documents to put into a quasi database. Something I am quite interested in doing after this report is uploading the data I have collected for this report onto the IYCM website or google group or wikiportal.

Overall, I feel overwhelmed by my report. The topic is so much bigger than I initially thought. It is ironic I was concerned that focussing on "youth" would be too limiting! There is a lot of information out there, just so long as you know where to look! It isn't the places we are taught to research in - it isn't in the usual places like online databases, academic journals and libraries. Rather, it is through word of mouth, emailing, following up the emails, skyping and connecting people who have been involved in the movement for much longer than I have! I feel like I could write a thesis on the topic I have chosen. I actually would be interested in doing further research on the topic if the opportunity presented itself.


As I said at the beginning of this post, I experienced so much that I am still processing it all and know I will process it for many months to come. I should probably write another reflection post in six months or so.

What now? I want to get involved at a local level, maybe through the ANU Environmental Collective. I am interested in doing an ANUGreen Internship. Things are constantly changing and developing in climate change and I would like to keep learning about it all. I'm excited!


COP15 By Numbers

This was taken from Scanorama – the Scandinavian Airlines Magazine 12/01: Editor in Chief Per Olsson. Special Advertising Supplement COP15: Editor Jorgen Hog. I read it on the plane from Copenhagen to Paris. I think it provides a good overview of COP15.

  • Bella Center – 76 000 square metres (including four newly-built pavilions providing an extra 10 000 square metres)
  • IT – 2400 PCs and 700km of cables
  • Security – Approximately 6000 of Denmark's 11 000 police will be involved with the COP
  • Food and Drink – 100 000 meals, 11 restaurants, 65% of all food served is organic
  • Accommodation – 'Stay for Free' Programme run by the New Life Copenhagen Organisation ( and
  • Transport – 150 limousines for official VIP transport, 150 minivans to escort VIP convos; free public transport for other delegates
  • No gift policy – even minister to minster gifts have been banned – 11 Climate Scholarships for fully financed two year Master's degree in various climate and energy sciences at Danish universities

YOUNGO at COP15 Wraps Up

Sunday 20 December 2009

We had the YOUNGO Wrap-Up event today. It was a half-day event held where the Conference of the Youth was held. We reflected on the youth movement from Poznan until now; the past two weeks; the role of YOUNGO; YOUNGO's shared vision; the influence of YOUNGO in decision making and negotiations; improvements and suggestions for COP16; what we are going to do riding on the momentum of COP15; what we are going to do back at home.

YOUNGO group debrief session at the place where it all began with COY!

Some really interesting things came out of the small group discussions. The Youth Forest WG seemed to get really positive responses from all who were members – Maya said it was the best thing she did and Swati said for the first three days of COP15 she was feeling really lost until she found YFWG. Bruno said all policy groups should aim to be like YFWG but lamented that that would require multiple "Gemmas" who knew the policy, were creative, could mobilise youth and were passionate about what we were doing.

We spoke about developing mentoring roles for the next COP because one of the problems of youth movements is that they are very mobile. We spoke about building up more partnerships between the Global North and Global South – like Britain/Kenya; Australia/Pacific Islands. There was mention of India/Maldives; US/Caribbean. There were ideas about going home and having a film screening and Q&A about our experiences at COP15; using all sorts of festivals to spread the message of climate change like "Love the climate" on Valentine's Day.

After the small group discussions, we came together to hear from Lina about the focal points, we sang about world peace (sometimes YOUNGO sounds corny on paper but it always seems to work at the time) and then had a free vegetarian buffet which was delicious. During the buffet I looked around the room and saw about 50 people sitting around, sharing lunch. I had met several of the group at Conference of the Youth and others throughout the two weeks inside the Bella Centre. There were others that I hadn't yet met. But I couldn't believe how empowered everyone was to be at the wrap-up event after everything we had experienced and the sleepless nights many had had working on youth policy, actions, logistics, events and other unexpected things that popped up from the COP.

And we're all still here, alive and eating!

We had a great conversation at our table with Paul Ferris, Ron from Malaysia, Bruno, Anna from Sweden and me about the youth movement and such things. I've written notes which I think I'll use in my final report. Paul mentioned I should post my final report on the unfccc_youth google group but I said I intimidated. He said I should just put a disclaimer on it and even if it is rubbish, it'll be more of a reflection than most other people.

Kirk from New Zealand and I walked home together and I went to meet Shaun and Meg who were at a Christmas service at Marie Kirche near Central Station.

My second church service in two weeks - and I'm not even religious. Sitting through a service conducted entirely in another language is particularly conducive to naval gazing!




"So you get an Australian Military Medal after four years. La-aa-me"

"Bloody random .... goddamn random"

"Since getting married, you learn to not care what people think. I don't really give a shit anymore."

"Then the bitch chief said to pretty officer ..."

Shaun: "Maybe you should write a blog for yourself ... I don't know if Janette needs to know about the scary guy, us not knowing how to use the washing machines, almost running off without paying ..."


Possible research topics for next time:

  • Nuclear (is it being talked about?; anti campaigns; etc.)
  • Fossil of the Day plus reactions
  • Supreme Master Vegan and other outside campaigns, impacting on the inside
  • Following the media back home and what they choose to focus on
  • Women and gender
  • Children and babies
  • Girl Guides/Scot movement – linked into something bigger
  • Blockage and strategies used in negotiations (eg. Saudi Arabia)
  • Unexpected issues that arise during the conference eg. Lockout in Week 2 – impact it has on NGOs, civil society – stifling of voices and debate


Protect Indigenous Rights. Watch Avatar.

Saturday 19 December 2009

I think I ran myself into the ground over the past two weeks. I woke up feeling not so good and spent the day sleeping a cold off. We went to see Avatar this evening. Avatar was surprising pertinent to COP15. Meg came along which facilitated particularly interesting discussion since Meg's topic was about Indigenous people.

Avatar the movie provides insightful commentary on the struggle of Indigenous people to have their rights to the forests recognised. Sounds like something else I've been learning about!

Avatar is about a planet which humans want to mine however there are Indigenous people who live in the forests. Some of the issues raised in the film related to issues raised during the COP15 about Indigenous peoples' rights, whether there should be a Declaration of the Mother Earth (like Bolivia suggested), reasons to protect the world's forests, how greed seems to corrupt developed societies. It made me think about how Indigenous people have lived off the land and the forests for hundreds of thousands of years and now we want to pay them to do so because they need to sell their forests for monetary gain. It made me think about how agriculture requires non-forest land. It made me think about how most developed countries have cut down almost all their forests and now expect developing countries to save their forests in order to sequester carbon and help curb global emissions. Oh the inequality!

Reflections at the Laundromat Cafe

Friday 18 December 2009

We all slowly tumbled out of bed this morning feeling the effects of last night! Our bombshell of a room slowly improved as we began to pack up. We said our goodbyes and Shaun and I headed to the Laundromat Cafe to do some much needed laundry.

It became an all day ordeal when we got there – the place was mainly cafe with four washing machines and two dryers. I think it was much more expensive to do the laundry here than it would have been down the street but the vibe was great and we had lunch and hot chocolates while waiting. It's quite a creative business venture and if the youth hostels in Canberra didn't have laundries attached to them, I'd be tempted to set up a Laundromat Cafe back home!

We lugged our luggage back to the bus stop. While we waited for the bus, a scary guy started talking to us. I never know how to handle it when people who are intimidating start harassing you. On the one hand, they clearly want you to engage and we couldn't really walk away, but at the same time, once we started engaging, he got right up into our faces and told us that climate change was up to God, Allah or whoever we believe in and we were wasting our time in Copenhagen. This really has been two weeks of a plethora of opinions on how to (or not) take action on climate change!

We got on our bus and finally got to our hotel where we dumped our stuff and went to have dinner with Phoebe, Bella, Meg, Jasmin, her boyfriend Mark, Simon and Marcus. A week previous, we had trekked halfway around Kongens Nortov to try to find "Cantina Workshop" only for it to be completely packed when we got there. We had been meaning to go back since but hadn't gotten around to it. The meal was pretty great – very authentic Asian fusion.

Phoebe, Shaun, Jasmine and I were reflecting on life changing experiences and whether this had been one. I agreed with Phoebe when she said it was too early to tell and she would have to reflect in 6 months on it. We spoke about how some life changing experiences come from the most unexpected places like random, part time jobs or meeting a particular person. But without a doubt, I have learnt so much over the past 10 days.

In her thank you speech on behalf of all of us to Janette, Laura said she learnt more in this 10 day course than all her other 20 courses at university combined. I'd have to somewhat echo this sentiment. I have never met so many young people from so many different countries. But not only were they from so many different countries, they were from such diverse backgrounds within their own countries.

I've learnt more about forests and LULUCF and REDD than I ever thought I would know. I've learnt about CDM and some of the challenges faced by low lying islands. I've learnt that I never want to be an Australian negotiator. I've learnt that there are many ways you can go out into the world and do good. I've learnt that we can each make a little difference, even if it is just dressing up as an elf and singing Christmas carols. I've learnt about the power of a mass movement like the youth movement. I've learnt I have so much to learn. I've learnt about the complexities of climate change and how much more I have got to learn!


Class Presentations

Thursday 17 December 2009

This morning we set off to the University of Copenhagen to do our class presentations. It took a while to get there as the Metro was snowed in so we had to change metros a couple of times. Tom and a couple of others got really into the snowball fights! Poor Bella seemed miserable because she had a cold and we were out amongst the elements for a while!

You can take the protestors out of the Bella Centre but you can't take the protestors away from the Bella Centre!

Freezing on the metro platform!

We made it to the University of Copenhagen campus in Freidrisberg. There were a couple of students and a professor from the University of Copenhagen who sat in and listened to a couple of the presentations.

I was really excited to hear about everyone's different projects. I'd heard about what a couple of people were doing when speaking to them over the past week or so (and Bella, Jasmin, Meg and me had spoken at the end of most days about what we saw and experienced) but I hadn't heard about everyone's projects.

Climate change is such an enormous issue and you could study it for your whole life and still not know everything. As a result, everyone had very different topics which were all fascinating in their own way. I was surprised that there were three themes which quite a number of people focussed on: climate justice; NGOs; Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). Although, upon reflection, these were three areas that were very prominent through the COP. The most vulnerable countries had quite a presence at the COP, there were so many NGOs that they got locked out of the COP in the second week and REDD was the "feel good" story of the COP.

I liked that the presentations were somewhat grouped together based on categories. As a result, we were able to hear about the complexity of each issue. For example, Laura, Luke and Shaun were all exploring different aspects of climate justice. Meg is looking at Indigenous rights (but not really REDD) whereas Rob is looking at Indigenous perspectives and REDD. Fern and Karen are both examining REDD while Phoebe and Alexei are looking at Environmental NGOs whose focus seemed to be REDD at this conference.

I really enjoyed hearing about topics I had no idea about. I had never heard of geoengineering prior to Anita's presentation. Likewise, I found Erik's topic on renewables and Farhad's topic on international aviation completely new. There were a couple of topics I wish I could have done! For example, Michael's topic on 350 – he looked at the 350 movement, the science behind 350, the effect of 350 (or lack thereof) on oceans, etc. I though Marcus gave an great speech and his topic had quite a bit of overlap with what I had originally set out to explore so it was interesting to hear about what might have been my project!

Nevertheless, after hearing all the presentations, I was still happy with my choice of topic. Everyone approached the course with very different goals – some really wanted to learn about the science, others wanted to connect with NGOs, others still wanted to learn about the negotiating process. I really wanted to connect with other youth from around the world. My topic was very conducive to achieving this goal.

Overall, I thought listening to the presentations was one of the most engaging aspects of the two weeks. It may sound odd because we have experienced so many amazing things. But reflection is really important and both listening to the other presentations and giving my presentation were very conducive to reflecting on the crazy two weeks. The sandwiches we had from the student run "Greenhouse Cafe" were also the best sandwiches I had ever had in my life.

Lunch break during the presentations. The University of Copenhagen generously hosted us.

Crazy Will goes stir crazy! I've enjoyed chatting to Will. He's become much more than just an adversary who always asks the hard questions to our guest lecturers in class. He was explaining to me the Greens policy of no compromise the other day. I've always been perplexed at why the Greens don't work with Labor for a stronger ETS but Will said that's not the point of the Greens. If they compromised, they wouldn't be the Greens anymore. They would become the Labor Party.

After the presentations, a group of us headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for drinks. I had a lovely chat with Laura and Anita, two people I hadn't really gotten to know previously. Erik was telling me about his Masters and his work. One thing I've really enjoyed about this course are the variety of people I've had the opportunity to engage with. I've never taken a course with such a diverse group of people from different backgrounds.

After the presentations, Karen gave us a great piece of advice to those of us who have never had a full time job. She said to do what we enjoy because you never know where that will lead you. It's something you hear quite frequently but hearing it from someone who has experienced it and someone I respect is much more meaningful.

But I digress – we went to some amazing steak house for the last supper before everyone dispersed around the globe. Anita and Kiri made a "Most likely list" (some of the ones I remember were):

Luke: Mr Tough guy

Shaun: Most likely to go to bed wearing his registration tag

Isabela: Most Bogan

Michael: Most unexpected hippie

Meg: Most likely to marry Desmond Tutu

Sarah: Most likely to find Nemo

Tom: Most Koala

Steph, Jo, Molly: Most under the radar

Jahla: Most awake

Michelle: Most asleep

Most likely to make Erik to sleep on the floor: Shannon, Grant, Farhad

Alexei: Man of the people

Sue-Lin/Phoebe: Most likely to get arrested

Joel: Mr Photographer

We headed out to karaoke after dinner and danced and sang into the night. I fell asleep on the metro home after two hectic weeks!

A Day on the Outside

Wednesday 17 December 2009

I slept in this morning knowing that I wouldn't have a pass to get in! Jasmine and I woke up to the police outside our window, engaged in a crazy chase of protesters. The police were kicking people and running after them. There were helicopters and bus-like police vehicles speeding around. There were sirens galore. At breakfast, all the television screens were covering footage of our hotel – unfortunately it was in Danish so I couldn't understand. One man generously translated for us although it was very generic because I don't think even the news stations knew what was going on!

Today was the big day for protestors, particularly as many of the NGOs were locked out and thus perhaps had more time on their hands.

We heard Brendan Mackey and Jennie Gould from the ANU speak. We are very fortunate to hear from leading experts in their fields! Jennie Gould told me not to have four kids – "any more than two is irresponsible". After the session, I asked Brendan about the role of youth and he was insightful – he said young people can get away with more – they can be more radical and out there and still be part of the dialogue because that is what young people do. I thought that was a really valid point.

I went back upstairs, fussed around and went over to Fields to buy a phone and eat lunch. Back at the hotel lobby, Alexei and I tried unsuccessfully to do some preparation for our presentations tomorrow. Instead, we were tracking the bloggers inside the conference who were reporting that Friends of the Earth had been barred from COP15 and as a result, all NGOs had been barred from COP15. The other NGOs were angry at Friends of the Earth (or at least there was cyber anger!). We listened to Hugo Chavaz's speech/rant on the live stream and heard that my favourite person Connie Hedegaard was resigning. We had previously heard whispers so it was not that surprising. It was also enlightening comparing what the Australian news was reporting on back home and what we perceived was going on here.

One of the posters on the wall at Klimaforum. Klimaforum is the People's Forum during COP15. By the time I went, it had turned into an ad hoc NGO nesting ground since the NGOs had now been officially kicked out of COP15. I could feel the roots of the environmental movement around me. It was less sheek and more gritty than the Bella Centre!

I went into town to the Klimaforum to hear an event about the youth movement in the US Midwest. I interviewed Jesse Tolkan who is one of the leaders of the US youth climate change movement. The side event was run by the Will Steger Foundation which is an organisation which promotes climate change action. A group of young people from the US Midwest form a delegation which goes to COPs. The young people explained why the Midwest is the "purple" region of the US and therefore how crucial it is to be an effective at lobbying Midwestern politicians. Similar to Australia, they are a coal reliant area so it was interesting to hear and compare their opinions on coal mining.

I met up with Phoebe, Alexei, Fern, Will and a new friend from Venezuela and we went to Kebabish for dinner. We went back to the hotel and celebrated Earth Hour in the lobby. I had the opportunity to speak to Rob and Erik for the first time. Everyone has so much knowledge and stories about COP (amongst other things!) to share! We finally decided we had better do some work and turned out attention to writing our presentation slides!