Greetings from Copenhagen!
After meeting up with Aurora and Reed on a connecting flight, the three of us arrived safe and sound early Friday morning, jet-lagged with the morning sunrise above the clouds still fresh in our minds. Since then, we’ve all had a little sleep to catch up in between the Conference of Youth meetings which have already begun. (Just a little– we’re beginning to realize what 18+ hour days feel like.)
Delegates from over 100 countries were present at the Conference of Youth meetings today. COY is an organized group of international youth, and it has provisional constituency status for the UNFCCC. This means that the group has a chance to speak during certain sessions of the conference and also has greater access to officials than would normally be without the status. In addition to planning meetings and attending sessions, there are many other events and actions the Conference of Youth, also known as YOUNGOS, will be involved in. One area involves art activism, which I learned about in a workshop I attended: In the Art and Activism workshop, I found myself surrounded by people with a vast array of talents ranging from painting and computer graphics to puppeteering and dance. As we went around in a circle talking about our artistic passions, our “artist in residence,” Kevin, directed us to a sign written on the wall that read, “The role of the revolutionary artist is to make revolution irresistible!”
Art is a universal language, and it has the ability to build bridges across cultures, uniting people of all cultural backgrounds to share stories and emotions that tap into the very elements that make everyone human. Throughout the short hour workshop, we began to tap into some of those qualities as artists offered to everyone their talents of dance, singing, and ideas. One delegate from Kenya showed us how youth perform dances to people chanting about climate change, and a delegate from the UK performed slam poetry about climate change.
Artists are in a unique position to use their abilities to create powerful messages that can transform societies and bring about positive change in local or global arenas. Over the next two weeks, artists from around the world will be uniting to share messages of the urgency to create climate solutions and the hope that today’s youth have for shaping an equitable future.