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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.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Speaking to the UN

I'm sitting at a table in the Bella Center next to SustainUS's booth with some members of the CCN and other Americans.   We are all on our laptops watching and rewatching the amazing video we just posted on youtube of a bunch of my friends crashing the Americans for Prosperity climate deniers live webcast event.  We are all writing our blogs while we drink the free wine from the various side events (yes!) and unwind from a very eventful day.

Today I had the amazing opportunity to speak on behalf of the youth at an official UN session.  All of the countries who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol were present, and I was given the floor by COP 15 President Connie Hedegaard.  While I delivered my speech (video to come!), I tried not to look at the huge video screens that broadcast my 40 foot face back to me.  Connie Hedegaard responded, “thank you for that very clear call for adaptation funding” and the room applauded, even though there were almost no youth delegates present because NGOs were blocked from the room as a result of the awesome Tuvalu disruption (definitely the biggest thing that happened here today).  

After just 90 seconds, it was over, but I hope that our message, that the countries who caused this problem must pay for its effects, will resonate.

The most gratifying part of my day was when two members of the Nepalese delegation rushed to thank me and gave me two postcards of Nepalese mountains and said “this is what is melting.  this is where we held our cabinet meeting.”  I can’t believe that the delegates from Nepal thanked me.  

Here is the text of my speech (video to come):

“Thank you for the floor, Madame President. 
Vulnerable people world-wide are already suffering the impacts of a warming planet: the World Health Organization estimates that climate change contributes to more than 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses annually. These effects will only increase in their severity and universality. In addition to ambitious and binding emissions reductions, you must commit to adequate adaptation funding for affected communities now; here, in Copenhagen.  
People around the world are already taking steps to preserve their lives and livelihoods. Farmers develop high yield grains to address food shortages,  women plant trees to mitigate drought, and coastal communities organize to prepare for the next storm. I too am willing to adapt. This is my adaptation promise:   
As a youth from an Annex 1 country, I will gladly give 25 cents a day for climate resilience. With 25 cents a day, my friends in the Maldives can retain their national sovereignty. With 25 cents a day, my sisters in Bangladesh can implement rapid response systems to save their families in flash floods. With just 25 cents a day, my peers in Nepal can develop water resource management for when their glaciers melt. 
I call on wealthy governments to give at least $100 billion dollars per year to an adaptation fund that is accessible, democratically-run and accountable to the UN treaty. These grants must be additional to existing ODA and commensurate with the immense scale of our countries’ historical contributions to this global crisis. This is not a question of aid, but of just compensation. Only 25 cents a day per Annex 1 citizen is all it would take.”

Thank you to Amira Karim, Katherine Phillipson, Jess LeClair and Marielle Remillard for being such a great speech-writing and support team!

Some awesome members of our adaptation group: Kartik (India), Beth (Australia), and Amira (Singapore)

Working working working!

A relatively small crowd inside the Bella Center

John Ashe, Chair of the AWG-LCA before a special briefing for the youth

Some new friends (and Zach)

Ethan in the hizzouse!

1 comment:

  1. Moey, words cannot describe how proud I am of you! You spoke to the world today! You are AMAZING! Keep fighting the good fight in Copenhagen!


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