Day 1 at the Conference of Youth
We’re having a great time at #COY13! The first day kicked off with an amazing opening ceremony. The most powerful moment was when youth leaders from all around the world (mostly areas that are heavily impacted by climate change) came on stage. It was a humbling reminder of the human impact of climate change.
Here is a brief overview of the workshops we attended on Thursday.
12 Climate Heroines
Lena and Annabella – We first looked at a photo exhibit of 12 climate heroines. Then, we learned from the experts leading the workshop about the importance of including women in the climate conversation thorough looking at local and global projects started by women. One issue that came up during the workshop is that all genders, races and religions must be included in the debate about climate change and gender equality.
Raising awareness and empowering others
Lilia and Lea – A representative of Greenpeace talked about various issues such as climate refugees. Currently, there is no official status as a “climate refugee.” He also mentioned that 100 species go extinct each day so getting species on the Redlist is important. The most important thing we learned was that it’s vital to have a community of support. You need 30% of your population working together for change in order to see progress made.
Under the same sky, your 25 hours vs mine
Yutian – I gained insight into how China makes use of recycling systems. The facilitators discussed the advantages and disadvantages of these systems which included bike sharing and an app called, Ant Forest. It was amazing to see how other countries are tackling climate change and how it can be incorporated into our own communities. The interactive activity also made me see how the tiniest everyday actions can have huge impacts on my carbon footprint.
Does Neo-liberalism need to be destroyed to combat climate change?
Yutian and Lilia – We learned the love/hate relationship between environmentalism and economics. It was interesting to see how these two can combine to make a better market. We had a debate if neo-liberalism was even compatible with environmentalism. This workshop really challenged us as we don’t have a background in topics such as neo-liberalism.
Lea – I looked at a case study to create a solar refrigerator that could be used to store medical supplies in Third World countries. It showed me that the things we learn at school are actually useful. It tied in really nicely to my ESS and Business classes. It showed how entrepreneurship makes things possible.
Youth actions for combating climate change and water challenges
Lena – 2.5 billion people are still without access to clean water. We need to improve water distribution especially since climate change has an impact on the water cycle. We mainly use water for agriculture, heat, and electricity. We had group discussions with some really great ideas on how to combat this problem.
Women’s call for climate justice
Lena – This was a discussion panel with four women involved in different ways with the United Nations. They presented some of their research on how women are more vulnerable to climate change impacts. Women need to be more involved in risk management decisions. They explained how to get more involved. Women need to be more involved in local government. I talked with several women on the panel and was really inspired.
Education for Sustainability
Yutian and Annabella – This workshop was on how to educate future generations. They looked at it in a philosophical way that was very different than what we’ve heard before. If we realize our impact on the environment we can bring about change.
Role of Indigenous Women in Forest Management
Lilia -The speaker was an indigenous woman from Myanmar.She trains women and men on human rights and gender equality. Women carry out men’s work without getting acknowledgement. The women don’t see their work as significant as they still believe men are superior. These women take care of the forests and are spiritually connected to nature. They’ve noticed that women don’t speak up when there are men in the room. The men are irritated when women do speak up. But, the conservation of forests and sustainable use of forests only happens when women are given the opportunity to make decisions.
Key Activist Engagement Skills
Mrs Kunst – This workshops looked into psychological techniques that can be used to work with difficult people on challenging topics. We acted out several difficult situations where we needed to talk to people with different views. It was hard because everyone in the room shared the same beliefs about climate change. We really had to work on our acting skills! But, we learned many helpful techniques and I developed a new activity to use with my ESS students from my experience at the workshop.