The Conference of Youth is definitely one of my favorite events related to climate change. Where COP brings all country negotiators, NGO’s and IGO’s together, the Conference of Youth prior to COP brings young people from all over the world together, to create a movement and learn what everyone else is doing, and the energy at this event is so empowering and inspiring.
A girl, Fatima, from the UK youth Climate Coalition told her personal story this morning, and to me it was pretty incredible. She has been involved at a local and national level for a long time, and have been tracking UKYCC at COP’s the past few years, but never in her wildest fantasy had she imagined to be a part of it, and yet here she is, hugely involved and engaged, giving the opening speech and telling us what COY is about: “Bringing young people together and leaving a legacy here in Durban!”, and that we are here to make friends and create a movement. Fatima is one of they 600 young people from all over the world who are currently gathered at the Howard College, 10 minutes away from Durban, to learn, empower, engage and take action on climate change.
When advocating for action at any level, personal stories is from my perspective, always very moving and empowering. At COY there are plenty of workshops on then UNFCCC process and very specific topics, but what I find most amazing is the skill-based workshops. Being an active IFMSA and IMCC member, I have in my time attended (and held) a lot of trainings and I always learn something new, but since we are all medics I find that our approach is quite similar, and therefore we sometime needs to step back and absorb and learn from other young people, and see if their way of doing things can change the way we see things, and make us even greater.
Today I attended a workshop held by 350.org about a campaign called the “The One Million Person Project”, and using your voice and personal story is exactly what makes this project and campaign so great.
It has become quite known.- to use the strategies and successes of Barack Obama’s president campaign when advocating and in most Public Narrative and Story Telling sessions these techniques are being used, but I have never seen it done in such an impressive manner. I learned a very new approach, using the same framework, but at a very different level, and I am I am excited to pay it forward at the Think Global workshop prior to the African Regional meeting on my way home from Durban.
I am grateful for all the great personal stories I have heard today, and tomorrow one story, it to be told, that I am especially excited about. A group of youth from all over Africa have in the past month or so been on a caravan from Nairobi, Kenya, giving concerts and raising awareness about climate change, and tomorrow they will tell us the story. They are so energetic, and I already had conversations with some of them, and I can with certainty say that they are here to change, not accepting that our world leaders is taking zero action, and the energy surrounding them is just amazing. Really, really excited about tomorrow.