Climate Action

The Learning Climate: Mobilizing for Paris

Last weekend I traveled to Paris to attend a Mobilization Meeting in Paris. Organized by Coalition Climat, NGOs and environmentalists around the world were brought together to push for action against climate change in the upcoming UN COP meetings in Paris this December. We  discussed the recent negotiations in Bonn and their implications for a Paris treaty, coordinated actions pre and post COP, forums to discuss solutions outside of the UN’s closed doors, and educational opportunities for Parisians and those congregated in the city for COP. Walking into the auditorium, I was struck by the amount of young faces. In the initial plenary, we talked about different initiatives already in place and the younger generation did not hesitate to add their voice. During the breakout sessions, I attended the Youth Action planning meeting. It was the most crowded room, with students perched on windowsills and squeezed together sitting on the floor. We went around the room, introducing ourselves, our country, and our organization. Representatives came from all over France, across America and Senegal. The room burst with calls to action. Most of the participants were university students or recent graduates. They shared stories of direct action campaigns and divestment initiatives. All were in accordance—we must act because climate change is already affecting our lives, our jobs, our contemporaries. It is a key constituency to mobilize because there is a greater understanding of the effects and risks of inaction. Students and youth have now grown up with the concept of climate change. Already, groups have coordinated corresponding events for COP. One of the most notable, and oldest, is Conference of Youth, or COY. This forum acts as a space for students around the world to congregate and discuss the negotiations and think of their own solutions. This year will mark the 11th COY. In the next few months, the youth groups of Coalition will formulate action campaigns for people all around the world. Global participation is vital. Earth Day Network’s education department will continue to participate in these discussions and looks forward to a concerted effort from youth groups worldwide. Johanna Bozuwa, Director of Education