Dear amazing youths at COP16
Posted by NYCA Blogger on December 7, 2010
I had to write this letter to you all because I’d go mad if I didn’t.
I want you to know that you all are an inspiration for me to fight better and harder. During one of the craziest days I have had at COP, you all gave me so much support.
Stifled. Helpless. Hopeless. That’s how I felt last night when I heard that the Secretariat wanted us to remove the dying part from our action for what they called ‘for security reasons’. Dying is a very strong and visually affecting action to perform – agreed – but that is exactly what’s happening because of climate change: people ARE dying. All we were trying to do was to bring to their attention what is at stake – people’s lives – while they dillydally in these negotiations. These people ought to see that the lives of millions of people and thousands of communities is at stake, and more appropriately, is in their hands. We aren’t a threat to security, you guys are. We aren’t a threat to security, climate change is.
I personally started my journey as person with a lot of passion and conviction to bring about some change. I wanted to contribute as much as I could to the strengthening of this movement. I was a hardcore optimist. But, as much as I hate to admit it, the fruits of our actions has been close to zilch. Young people were a part of these UNFCCC conferences all the way back from the Rio Summit in 1992. Severn Suzuki’s moving speech failed to inspire the leaders to take action, and so did Christina Ora’s heartfelt address, ‘these people have been negotiating all my life.’ As for me, after a year of getting involved, coming back from Copenhagen last December and now after spending two weeks here in Cancun, I’ve realized it’s all about going back home, it’s all about the local. ‘Think global, act local’ is absolutely, fundamentally true. If we were all doing our work back home, taking care of our own land and really working to strengthen our own communities, this world would be quite an amazing place. And honestly, it is the only tangible thing we can really do. Of course we must lobby, we must keep abreast of what’s happening at the international level and we must keep pushing these negotiators to get them on the right track. But given that we young people, for the most part, have our hands tied up and our voices silenced in these negotiations, I don’t think we can have any serious influence on the decisions that are made. But we CAN see are the fruits of our action, and we can see them in our communities back home. And taking action is more and more important now, now that we have climate change to seriously worry about and we can’t do sit and do nothing while we wait for the leaders to make any progress on the UNFCCC front.
I was really proud of you guys yesterday. I realized that I could do a whole lot more. Your resolve, your commitment, your belief and your actions have impassioned and encouraged me to continue this fight and give more of myself to it. I think I will leave Cancun with more determination and hope than I had when I arrived. I am determined to get more active, more political, make sure I engage more people and do it faster than I did it before.
So thank you, thank you for your support and your inspirational actions, thank you for being unwavering. It has inspired to me to an extent I cannot even begin to explain. I really want you all to continue your good work within the UNFCCC processes. And while I can’t say that I’ll see you all again in South Africa next year, as quite frankly, I don’t feel like being a part of these UNFCCC conferences anymore, I will definitely do my bit in empowering my people back home. The planet is still warming up, and I will too, in my efforts.
Love you all so very much,