Youth action frames the conversation at the UNFCCC in Poznan, Poland
Young people from around the world made their voice heard today at the UN Framework Convention on Climate change in Poznan, Poland. After an inspiring speech from Al Gore, over 200 young people from India to the U.S. to the Congo held a spontaneous action inside, with banners that read “SURVIVAL IS NON-NEGOTIABLE.”
The demonstration was the next step in our “project survival” – inspired by a speech earlier this week by a representative from the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), stating that current emissions targets set by powerful countries condemn their nations to extinction. In the last two days youth have mobilized to get over 80 country delegations to sign a pledge to “safeguard the survival of all peoples and nations.” Youth organized actions, tracked down delegates in the halls, lined the entrance to the plenaries, and knocked on meeting room doors to push their countries to sign the Survival Pledge. This morning our text has been adopted in the official UN Ministerial declaration document emerging from COP14, the COP President’s text on long-term vision. Heads of state referenced our call in major speeches. “It’s been an amazing success,” said Amanda McKenzie, of the Australian Youth Climate Network. “Hearing Australia’s Climate Minister Penny Wong commit to ‘survival’ yesterday had me cheering in the halls. Now, it’s time to make sure she delivers.”
Actions like the one that happened 15 minutes ago aim to create the pressure to do just that. At the end of our action (after engaging with some angry UN people) several delegates and dignitaries came to thank the Youth for their action. A woman said “I am in a very high position in my government in Norway. Youth doing actions like this makes my work easier. Thank you.”
We’ve had an exciting victory, but we know we must continue to organize to make the implications of that statement meaningful – we know that any targets less than 350ppm will not insure the survival of all peoples and nations, and we know that any solution that is not equitable and just, is no solution at all.
Click below for many more photos and reflections.
While our demonstration today was not permitted by the United Nations, young people felt compelled to step outside the boundaries of rules and etiquette to ensure that the main message emerging from COP14 is one of SURVIVAL. We will continue to work year round, taking on this generational challenge.
Photos by Shadia Fayne Wood, Ben Powless, Robert VanWaarden, and Joshua Kahn Russell
for more photos see: http://pa.photoshelter.com/gallery-show/G0000SIp4.f3wK2U