25 August 2009

103 Days - Are the Children Demanding Enough of World Leaders?

UNEP's Tunza International Youth Conference on Climate Change ended on 23 August 2009 in Daejeon, Korea.

Youth delegates pledged to keep global warming high on the international agenda. "Climate change is the greatest threat we are facing in the 21st century, and many countries are vulnerable. If we the children and youth don't act now, we cannot be sure there will be a future for us, for future generations. We want to make sure that future generations will inherit a better place to live in," said 22-year old Jessie James Marcellones from the Philippines.

Regional Action Plans covering Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and West Asia, include:
  • Mobilizing youth for the upcoming UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen
  • Reaching out to other environmental groups, especially during the 21-25 September Climate Week
  • Educating others on campuses, in school and among churches, sports teams and more
  • Letter-writing, phone banking, visiting officials to "Seal the Deal"
  • Social networking through the Unite for Climate, Facebook, Twitter and other e-fora, and
  • College campaigns and tree planting initiatives.
Okay, I'll admit that I was hoping for something more radical from this group. Something like:
  • The youth and children of the world will start disobeying their parents if we don't see positive movement at the upcoming preparatory talks. And if we don't get a just and effective climate treaty in Copenhagen, we will start rampaging through the streets. It will not be pretty. But it will be a whole lot nicer than what you older people are leaving to us.
I was, however, very happy to read the following:

Seventeen-year-old Yaiguili Alvarado Garcia, from the Kuna indigenous group in Panama, expressed the need for adults to hear and listen and understand why the young need their support. "There are a lot of indigenous cultures that are losing, because nobody wants to hear what we want to say, what we know about Mother Earth, and it is frustrating for us because we have so many things to share and the world doesn't listen to us. There are many things we asked the governments to do and we know it is hard, but we want to work with them, we just want to make a better place for the children, for the animals and plants. It is about time we stop thinking just for us and think also for other beings that cannot speak for themselves. It is time to stop being selfish.

"This global youth and children gathering under the Seal the Deal Campaign is the largest international gathering of young people this year advocating for climate change action. Their voices will and must be heard because they will inherit the outcomes of our actions," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [my eco-hero].

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?