Today US Youth met during the regional breakout at COY5 to build an action strategy for the negotiations. Overall the US can boast a youth delegation of 500+ at COP15 during the next two weeks. These numbers give us endless possibilities to show the power of youth, and to really put together some compelling and strategic actions.
One major theme of our actions is to hold US leaders accountable. As a country we have not stepped up to take responsibility for our large hand in causing climate change. The time for that to change starts tomorrow. The world is counting on the US to finally take real action on climate change, and the youth at COY have big expectations for US youth delegates. They want to know exactly what we are doing to apply pressure to the Senate, Congress and Obama.
These talented youth delegates know that we are working hard back home to pass domestic climate change legislation. They also know that we are demanding negotiators at COP15 to become supporters of a treaty in Copenhagen and not roadbloacks. And so they are making sure that youth from the US are doing what they can to ensure our leaders get in the game.
At COY5 I interviewed Anesu Makina, a delegate from Zimbabwe with the United African Youth Delegation, sponsored by the Danish Foreign Ministry. During our conversation I asked her if she had any hopes for US youth her reply was similar to what many other youth from the global south are asking for.
“I would like to see US youth be more responsible with consumption in the activities that they do and consider reducing their emissions…We are young people just like them but we can’t enjoy the same quality of life because of our climate. They need to take into consideration people from the south.”
Most youth delegates from around the world are excited that Obama will be coming to Copenhagen. But his presence does not guarantee that a treaty will be agreed upon. It is important to know that US delegates have been great leaders and hard workers back home, and that at COP15 we will not act differently. We will be working hard to hold our leaders accountable, reminding them of the responsibility we have as the United States to take action on climate change and to support a bold, just and binding treaty in Copenhagen.
But the work did not begin at Copenhagen, and it does not end here either. We need all youth, all activists in the US to keep pressuring the Senate, Congress and Obama to pass legislation at home. If you want to help spread the message to our senators back home join the Rapid Response Team. “The goal of this rapid response team is no small task: to affect the U.S. negotiation position.” But it’s important to build this critical force back home to build upon what US youth delegates are doing in Copenhagen.
Get involved if you can – the world is counting on [US].