CYD-DJC COP18 delegates finally met!
by Megan Van Buskirk
Last week, all of the CYD delegates finally met!
I was so stoked to finally put faces to the emails we’ve been shooting back and forth for months and months. All of the CYD-ers met in Ottawa before PowerShift 2012 (a conference that brought together nearly 1200 youth from across Canada to work towards real solutions to climate injustice).
We spent our time together strategizing a kick-ass framework, all the while getting to know more about each other and the reasons why each of us are passionate about climate justice. Our time together helped us form into a strong and cohesive team. The result: the foundations of a very successful framework for COP18. We are such a diverse group of people. We are fighting different fights, but from our differences comes strength and an all-encompassing perspective.
I’ve learned that my fellow delegates (and friends) are fighting for a world that includes: justice for the youth, students, and future generations; justice for those living in frontline communities; and justice for what natural ecosystems and biomes we have left.
When I looked around the room during our strategizing session, I realised that we as the CYD are a metaphor for Canada’s youth. We might come from diverse places and our ideas on how things work vary. But there’s something about that juxtaposition that is perfect. Climate change is related to absolutely everything, and while we each have different reasons for going to COP18 we can agree on one thing: the system is broken and we need to change the fundamental processes of decision-making. We need a paradigm shift. Our government has made some extremely offensive decisions and we can no longer stand back and observe the dirty money and dirty politics that drive our government’s agenda (within the United Nations and as its own agenda).
We have to be realists — COP18 will fail us, the same way that it has failed us for the past 17+ years. There won’t be a fair, ambitious, and binding deal (unless pigs start to fly) but that doesn’t mean we can’t be hopeful and make real strides forward.
We will succeed in communicating our distaste for the current systems of oppression,nwe will succeed in educating each other on the injustices in our world, and we will succeed in finding creative solutions to these injustices. Even though decision-makers may not actually listen to us and consider our guidance, they will still hear us.
We cannot be silenced.
Attending PowerShift 2012 solidified the knowledge that our system is broken, which was a really rad process to be a part of. I think the best part of PowerShift was that it reminded me I am not alone. The CYD delegation is not alone. People from all different generations came to PowerShift, and reminded me that intergenerational cooperation could be the solution to it all.
COP18 starts in just over three weeks. I am excited to embody the enthusiasm and passion I witnessed at PowerShift in Doha, Qatar. I could say that I am just 1 of 1200, but I’m confident that number is much higher. PowerShift 2012 was just the beginning. The climate movement is growing! And together we can demand what we are entitled to (clean and healthy air, water, land, ecosystems, societies, communities, democracy).