Youth have a special place at the UN COP talks. We have had a presence since the UNFCCC was developed in Rio in 1992, but the International Youth movement has only taken off since the Bali Talks in 2007 (COP13). In this short amount of time, we have gained recognition as a stakeholder in the process, and have gained constituency status. (It means we are accredited NGO observers and are assigned UN photo IDs like this one:
We are called YOUNGOs (for YOUth NGOs). There are over 1000 of us in attendance this December, and we have a special role within the COP. Yvo de Boer, the Secretariat, has called us the moral voice of the UN. Our presence there reminds our lawmakers of the future that is at stake.
As such, we try to be as visible as possible. We hold small demonstrations within the walls of the Bella Center (with the Secretariat’s approval). We bring energy and color to the conference, and apparently a lot of people really love us for it.
Here are some of the things we do:
Today, Indigenous people, the Canadian youth, and American youth collaborated to pull of a protest of Tar Sands. We did this in a hallway. It was similar to the earlier event with AOSIS.
Here are some other pictures:
This guy literally rides around the Bella Center selling apples for a dollar or so. Even I can afford that! Although now that I think about that, that’s an obscene amount for just one apple…
This guy was dressed up as a polar bear and getting his photo taken. Polar bears are to the natural world what the Maldives are to nations: a poster child for the effects of Global Climate Change. Both are in danger.
And this is the Fossil of the Day award, put on by Climate Action Network (CAN). Every day CAN finds 3 countries who have done something to obstruct the negotiations process and assigns them first, second, and third prize. So far this year, Canada is winning. And not only is this fun and creative, but it also is a way of informing people of the outcomes and drawbacks of the day’s negotiations.