What is the significance of COP22?
Climate change is a global problem that demands international action, and finally, in Paris last year, the world came together on an agreement to address climate change: the Paris Agreement. At the UN’s Marrakech Climate Change Conference, COP22, nations of the world will continue their work on strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, with the central focus placed on enhancing ambition, promoting implementation and providing support (more here). Given the unprecedented speed with which the Paris Agreement has entered into force, the focus of COP22 will be on turning the words of that agreement into action. COP22 will make important strides in realizing the emissions reductions pledged in the Paris Agreement by determining key roles and processes for implementing the agreement, and encouraging climate change mitigation actions from all sectors and levels of government. What happens in Marrakech will be a critical test of the ambitious international will to address climate change that was demonstrated in Paris, and Climate Generation is sending a delegation to the conference to engage and bear witness.
Who are the members of our delegation?
This year’s intergenerational delegation includes a high school student, a recent college graduate, a Master’s student and a teacher.
Isabel found her passion for working within the environmental movement as a sophomore in high school, when she was first introduced to Climate Generation’s YEA! MN youth program. Before joining YEA! MN, the issue of climate change was daunting and caused a feeling of helplessness for her; as a young person, she never felt like she had a voice in the movement combating climate change, especially not a voice as a leader. YEA! MN empowered her by helping her to find her voice and expand her leadership so she could turn those helpless feelings into ways to take action and create change. Now Isabel uses her voice and her passion for the environment and climate justice to elevate the voices of other youth. She has spoken out consistently against injustices affecting her community as well as the global community, and all those that inhabit it. She is currently a senior at the School of Environmental Studies, an intern with YEA! MN, and a co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil and Tar Sands Committee, where she is using her activism and leadership to resist tar sands pipelines.
Siiri began her life-long interest in climate change activism in high school, when she joined and later co-led Climate Generation’s youth-led program, Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA! MN). Since then she has focused on understanding how humans influence our global environment by studying environmental science at Smith College. She is passionate about investigating and communicating local climate change impacts, in order to help communities become resilient to future environmental changes. She has partnered with young climate activists from around the world to promote youth voices in national policy and international climate negotiations. She graduated college in 2016 and now aims to blend her passion for travel, outdoor adventure, and climate change advocacy. At COP22, Siiri will be focusing on connecting with youth activists from around the world in order to understand how global communities are building future climate resiliency.
Craig Johnson is an environmental and climate-change educator who has applied his commitment to environmental and experiential learning to a host of teaching and administrative positions over the course of his career. For the past decade, Craig has partnered with Climate Generation to integrate climate change into the classroom curricula at the School of Environmental Studies through field-based experiences. He has created a wide range of authentic learning opportunities, including school partnerships and exchanges, campus renewable energy projects, student-led climate-change mitigation activities, and climate change in-service programs for teachers. In 2007, he brought high-school students to Baffin Island in conjunction with the Will Steger Global Warming 101 Expedition, where they heard from Native peoples firsthand about the impacts of climate change in their communities. Craig was instrumental in facilitating accreditation by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council for the SES Education Foundation, and has led high-school student and faculty delegations to seven UNFCCC international climate-change conferences around the world. Craig was honored as a White House Champion of Change in Climate Change Education in 2015 and is pictured here at the event with the President’s science advisor, Dr. John Holdren.
Johanna is a Vermont native now pursuing her Master’s at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She studies the application of systems thinking to provide sustainable solutions in society, business, and education. As an active member of the Fossil Free University Network in the Netherlands, she also works to cut universities’ ties with the fossil fuel industry. Before starting her master’s program she lived in DC working on climate education and action at a nonprofit for two years. She attended COP21 in Paris, advocating for education and youth action alongside Climate Generation through the #youth4climate initiative. She now straddles the line between student and educator as she pursues a master’s and works as the Fellow at the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN). This experience has reinforced her commitment to education that promotes youth empowerment on climate change. As an ardent feminist and graduate of the all women’s college, Barnard, she is particularly focused on the gendered effects of climate change. At COP22, she hopes that she can connect with youth, both from her North American and European ties as well as beyond, to send a clear message for climate action in Marrakech.
How can you follow along?
Sign up to receive updates from our COP22 delegation. You will receive six e-newsletters between November 4-18, the opportunity to tune into webcasts, and links to our delegation’s blogs. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ClimateGenOrg and use #teachCOP22.