My Kind of Day: Youth and Future Generations Day

Today we got to the youth delegation (RINGO) bright and early! Due to this we got tickets to attend a closed APA article 4 session: adaptation communication. We then went to a showcase event about cities and human settlements. It focused on resilience in cities and buildings but was mainly in French. Due to the lack of understanding, I left this session and wandered around the side exhibits meeting people who were interested and passionate about youth advocacy. They also happened to have free chocolate bars (obviously my favorite way of advocating for change). I met with people focused on sustainable education who were making a video and made books and curriculum for children about the importance of climate action.

Next, we went to my favorite event of the entire conference: How Engaging Youth Actions Are Integral to Implementing Climate Justice. This session was run by youth delegates and highlighted the importance of youth action. These young adults created an organization called Make It Real where they run workshops all over the world to facilitate climate dialogue and encourage innovative solutions from the future generation. At this session, we learned about the work of the organization and then we mapped out our own “climate change map” which consisted of the ways in which we became active in climate justice. We then broke off into groups based off of interests in order to network and discuss possible solutions to the areas we are passionate about. My group focused on social injustices and came up with ideas about education and technological initiatives in order to bridge the climate gender gap. I loved this session for many reasons. First off, these are people who are ready to do something. Obama once said: We are the first generation to see the effects of climate change, and the last one to be able to do something about it. Many sessions consist of a few monotone delegates talking at the audience. This one wanted to make climate change something everyone can be engaged in, and they showed the importance of youth advocacy, and the ability young adults have to make an impact.

After this session, we got lunch. Today there was a protest about the unequal representation of women, which I’ve talked quite a bit about in my posts. The slogan was “Why do I need a mustache to be heard?” and they passed around different paper mustaches.

Then I headed to some press conferences. The first one was Grassroots Movements to Support the Paris Agenda. It talked about the importance of having contacts with people on the ground in emergency relief situations. As well as highlighted the role of cross-sector collaboration. There was another press conference hosted by WEDO, Global Gender Climate Alliance, and the women’s delegates fund. Many of the speakers I had met the day before.

Next, Emily, Jennie and I headed to the closed APA session. Truthfully, I didn’t understand much of what was happening, yet it was still a unique experience. You walk into a room with tables set up in a square with country name tags for the party’s delegates. You take a seat along the wall as an observer. The go over the policy which is projected on large PowerPoints. (Side note: someone needs to teach UN officials how to use PowerPoints! Their slides have several paragraphs and are just awful!) Then as they review the policy of Article 4 countries can ask to change or clarify sections.

After this was another press conference focusing on indigenous peoples and how climate change affects them. The speakers spoke Spanish, but there was the decent translation. We learned how tribes are adversely affected by climate change, as it changes their agricultural cycles. This can then lead to a lack of food and water when the seasons seem to be always changing, and they have trouble planting or harvesting their crops. Afterward, we interviewed the main speaker who was dressed in traditional garb. He gave an interesting response when we asked him if he could, what message would he convey to the public. He said that all indigenous people are diverse and that we need to start protecting the plant because it is home to all, but some are more affected by global warming than others, and it’s important to be aware of that.

As we were leaving the conference, we ran into many indigenous people performing their cultural customs and ceremonies. It was lively and fun to see and hear all these different traditions come together.

On the walk back we caught a beautiful sunset! We went back to the Riad and sorted out a few things for check out the next day. We got dinner at an awesome restaurant in the market area. Then we shopped around the market place which seems to light up at night, and headed back to the hotel to get some rest before the last day of our trip!!!!!

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