Blog

It is the 19th year of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the hopes this year for meaningful international action here in Warsaw are just as low as they were last year in Doha, as well as every year since the failing of negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009 to produce a treaty. As cynical as everyone is about the conference, us youth all still show up to try and make an impact, since the negotiations would probably go a lot worse if youth and civil society groups were not present.

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Written By: Sami Tellatin

Panels are one of the most effective and interactive educational events; in fact, they are my favorite events to attend when I’m curious about a topic. They don’t require your attention for the same amount of time as documentaries do, but still give you several different perspectives on an issue. During portions of a panel event, audience activity is highly encouraged, leaving plenty room for interactive discussion.

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On Friday night, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC or UofI) became the latest school (of the 300+ campuses working on fossil fuel divestment) to pass a student-wide divestment referendum. With all votes tallied, they had won with 6-to-1 in favor of divestment.

Bottom line: 86% of the voting student body demonstrated their support of coal divestment at UIUC! 

256 UIUC Beyond Coal celebrates referendum vote with 200sqft banner on campus

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Trouble in Coaland

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November 18, 2013

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretariat Christiana Figueres spoke at the Climate and Coal conference today, 18 Nov, in Warsaw, taking time away from her administration of the 19th UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP19).  Figueres took a strong climate stance at the coal conference, and stated in her remarks to the world coal summit that we must "leave most existing reserves [of coal] in the ground."  At the pre-COP youth convergence, many of those present expressed worry that her participation in the coal summit legitimizes the industry, despite her tough stance.

254 photo credit: 350.org

 

There was a rally today in protest of Poland intentionally scheduling the World Coal Association at the same time as COP19.  Protestors pretended to be either lobbyists, throwing handfuls of money and coal dust at a giant inflatable pair of lungs, or activists wearing surgical masks and holding signs.  A medical student read a statement about the harmful effects of burning coal.   Greenpeace activists hung up a Polish Flag which red, “Who runs Poland? Coal industry or the people?”

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As I make my preparations to go down to Columbus tomorrow for the Act On Climate Rally, I think back to last weekends action against the Keystone and Gulf Coast Pipelines in here in Cleveland.

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263 Jim Miller, dupont Manual High School student and KSEC member getting petition signatures for Renewable Energy legislation in KYKentucky has long been known as an energy producing state, since coal was discovered here in 1750. That means that Kentucky started to produce energy that fueled our nation's growth since before our nation even existed! But for some time now, our state's energy economy has been stumbling and failing to deliver a healthy and robust economy with jobs that benefit our communities and environment.

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Here in Warsaw, Poland at the UN Climate Change Conference, International Youth will hold a Side Event called “The Potential of Divestment: Changing the Landscape of Climate Politics to 2015” tomorrow afternoon. It is organized by the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition alongside SustainUS: US Youth for Sustainable Development.

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I took the red dot. That was the moment when I made the decision to fast in solidarity at COP19. When I took the red cloth dot and pinned it to my shirt. I was aware of the commitment I was making, and I still am. I don’t take it lightly, but with every passing hour I become more aware of the importance of this solidarity action. What is happening in the Philippines and around the world is unacceptable and can be changed. I’m determined to be a part of making that happen.

241 Photo Credit: Ashok Chandwaney

A little bit of background for those that need it…

Monday was the opening plenary of the 19th Annual Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. It was during this plenary that I witnessed head Filipino negotiator Nadarev Yeb Saño deliver an incredibly powerful narrative on the truth of climate change. A narrative that brought many to tears and drove many more to desperately crave a break in the monotony of the negotiation process. Saño spoke of the devastation left in his country after Typhoon Haiyan and how his people are affected by climate change. He voiced the need for drastic action and ambitious policy to put a stop to climate change and the extreme weather that accompanies it.

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231 This fall the Will Steger Foundation brought 17 high schoolers to Power Shift 2013 through our Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA! MN) program.

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Crossposted on NRDC's Switchboard.

Last Friday night I went to the supermarket to buy several five gallon jugs of water. Being a longtime environmental advocate, it felt wrong to be buying bottled water.  But more than that, it felt strange to be buying water to meet the drinking needs of fellow Americans. Many assume that in the wealthiest country in the world, everyone has access to all of the potable water they could ever need. But that’s not necessarily true for many people living in shale country. The next day, I and 30 New York college students would be visiting Pennsylvania to see how fracking is threatening American communities and, more immediately, to deliver clean drinking water to people that have been living without it for some time.

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