Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Clean up your mess, youth tells climate talks

Glasgow, Scotland – The generation of young people who will inherit a warmer future is telling the generation that fueled carbon pollution to clean up their mess.

But they fear that this message is not reaching anywhere.

“This is our future. Our future is being negotiated, and we don’t have a seat at the table,” said Julia Horchos, a 20-year-old Boston College student.

Young people are participating in an unprecedented number of talks in Glasgow, Scotland – and world leaders have credited their activism for strengthening dialogue aimed at avoiding devastating climate change.

But almost all of the people who are inside the venue are here as observers, like horchos – placed outside the rooms where the actual decisions are being made.

Alok Sharma said, “I am urging all leaders and decision makers to listen to the calls coming from young people, (…) in talks and, of course, in action taken domestically by individual governments. reflect.” British officials presiding over the talks.

Yet on a day dedicated to youth participation, the highlights of the afternoon were a speech by former US Vice President Al Gore, 73, and a news conference by John Kerry, 77, the US climate envoy.

Outside, tens of thousands of people, most of whom were under the age of 30, made it clear that they were afraid to be seen – and even celebrated – but not heard.

In his several days going into the sessions, Horchos said there was only one time for audience members like him to talk — and it was a special youth program. Sure, 21-year-old Diana Bunge of Boston College got to hear from three CEOs of multinational corporations, and met with Horchos Kerry, but she didn’t get a chance to speak up for her future.

“When I arrived at COP26, I could only see white middle-aged men in suits,” Magali Cho Lin Wing, a 17-year-old member of the UNICEF UK Youth Advisory Board, told a press event. “And I thought, ‘Wait, is this a climate convention or a corporate event?’ Is this what you came for? To swap business cards?”

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Still, they know it’s important to be at least near the room where it all happens.

Nation World News Desk
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