As COP15 comes to a close, actions at the conference center intensify. Many of you are probably wondering why this is happening or what it is achieving. I thought I could answer this in a very personal way based on my experiences at the conference. While at the conference, I have had conversations with people directly affected by climate change. Specifically, I met a boy from Bangladesh who told me about all the suffering he and his family have faced since a typhoon ruined his town. A boy from the Maldives, Mohamed Maumoon, explained to me that if his negotiators signed a bad deal, they would be signing a “suicide pact”. Clearly, emotions run high about the outcome of these negotiations, and many lives are on the line (Global Humanitarian Forum estimates that at present 300,000 people per year die as a result of climate change). Personally, I feel like I am on a roller coaster in which I waver between hope that we can make positive change and concern that there will never be a strong enough treaty to avoid further destruction.
The stakes are high. And in a youth briefing early this week, Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, shared that he was losing his faith that nation-states could move quickly enough to solve this problem. I know many people who want desperately to stop climate change. We have various ideas about how solutions will be reached and how to channel our willingness for change. In the end, we want a just and ecologically sound world. Many of us believe the way to achieve that is by building a movement of people who can come together not just to ask for change from state officials but to create the solutions ourselves. While I will not participate in civil disobedience at this conference, I know that those who do seek climate justice.