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Eugene, Oregon, United States
I believe my generation has the unique opportunity to save the world. If no action is taken, the world will see catastrophic climate change within the next half century, the cost of which will be measured in human lives. But at this pivotal moment, we have a window of opportunity. We can create the just, sustainable and prosperous future that we seek. I am a Vassar student spending my junior year at the University of Oregon, and I am going to Copenhagen this December to do everything I can to ensure that a mutual survival pact is agreed upon, not a suicide pact.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"Our future will not be written for us. Our future will be written by us"

Today was the first day of the Conference of Youth!  What an amazing experience.  There are over 500 young people from almost every country in the world here working together to prepare for COP15.  There is so much energy, knowledge and dedication in this group of people, I am certain that we will  make ourselves heard and our leaders will not be able to ignore our vision for the future any longer.

I went to two workshops, mingled with people and watched a mini flash dance during lunch, then there was an 'open space' discussion where we broke into groups of about twenty and discussed the youth's goals, role, and how we can be most effective at COP15.  Then, we learned about the structure of YOUNGO, which (I believe) is now an official "constituency" recognized by the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).  

I went to the YOUNGO Adaptation Policy group, where we had a very productive meeting.  We identified our strategies for ensuring that funding for adaptation is included in the treaty.  We are first going to find out what the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the African Constituency and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and any other relevant groups would like to see in the treaty, then we will identify which delegates we should target for lobbying.  As a member of Youth Supporting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for a Just and Sustainable World, I am going to hopefully get sexual and reproductive health and rights in any adaptation document we create.  

In one of the workshops, we learned about the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which basically allows large companies in developing countries to essentially receive money from developed countries for putting in place supposed carbon reduction projects.  After we had been discussing the intricacies of this program, a young woman from the Caribbean raised her hand in anger and asked why, if there are people who live in places like her homeland, that are going to be catastrophically affected by climate change, and peoples' homes and entire countries are going to be submerged underwater, leaving them with nothing, are we pandering to businesses?  Why aren't governments doing something to stop this thing which already is harming so many peoples' lives?  It was the first time I had heard an appeal from someone who is already being affected by climate change, and it was really powerful for me because it brought home just how high the stakes are.  This is not about politics, its not about policy, and its not even about the environment. This is about the survival of real people, and as a human race we have the choice to either let them die or to stop climate change.


  1. Moey,
    I am so happy to hear that you're in the center of policy-making in Copenhagen. I'm delighted that you are kicking ass and taking names. If you have a chance, take a quick peek at pg.14-16 of the paper I sent you, as I spend some time talking about technology transfer.

    I anxiously await the day when we start our lobby group together.

    Much love,

  2. hey maddo-

    thanks for the great updates. you're doing incredible work over there - hope you're staying warm! really appreciate the off key version 'country roads' - priceless! love, leila

  3. You are so fantastic, Madeleine! We are so proud of what you are doing. And your blogs are great. Keep it up.
    You are right--some people are already being affected, and many more to come, from the poorest countries in many cases, where there aren't really good options to move them.
    We need action now.


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