November 25, 2009

We're famous! – Our Boar article…

This December, in Copenhagen , the most important meeting of our generation will take place. United Nations representatives from across the world will come together to negotiate a new agreement on Climate Change: the successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Copenhagen is crucially important because we are running out of time: scientists are repeatedly revising their predictions on the scale on the climate problem upwards, and it is becoming increasingly clear that we are reaching the ‘point of no return’ in the earth’s climate systems. We must act now before it is too late.

Climate Change will affect our generation the most – it is we who are young enough to live to experience its effects, and it is therefore obvious that young people should be central to the events in Copenhagen. We often feel unrepresented by the politicians who seem to be doing so little to address the issue, but it is empowering to view this as a fantastic opportunity to build a better, cleaner and more sustainable world.

This vision has motivated three Warwick students – Owen Everett, Jesse Meadows and Charlie Game – from the People and Planet society to cycle to Copenhagen for part of the conference – we will make sure that the voice of young people (and in particular, the voice of Warwick students) is heard.

Our plan is to get to Copenhagen in time for the main events of the conference. Travel will be mainly by bike, in order to demonstrate that sustainable transport is viable and to minimise our carbon footprint in getting there (as well as making it much more of an adventure!)

We will be in frequent contact with a team of campus-based students who will provide updates of our progress and experiences, and as Warwick delegates we will be acting as alternative media – we want to make sure that the story of what is going on in Copenhagen, both inside and outside of the conference, is told accurately.

However, we also want to provide a personal link between students at home and a conference that will be literally deciding our future. We will achieve this through making a video diary, keeping internet blogs, taking photos and writing articles for campus and local media on our return. All of this will be focused on recording our experiences: en route, as we represent Warwick students through participating in some of the many planned protests (such as the huge Floor for Climate Justice march on Saturday December 12th), forging links with international students and volunteering at the Klima Forum; the ‘people’s climate summit’. Go Green Week will take place in week 1 of term 2, to sustain the momentum coming out of Copenhagen and to engage Warwick students in the ways you can act to join the movement.

It is easy to get depressed when you get involved in climate activism. The media is currently full of pessimistic articles suggesting that there may not be any significant deal at Copenhagen, because at preliminary talks there has been little agreement amongst developed countries (who have contributed most to the problem) on the crucial issue of them funding the energy transition of developing countries. However, we would die of frustration just sitting at home and shouting at the television. We will be joining many thousands of like-minded people (many of them our age), who are determined to, at minimum, show our great passion for this issue, and our refusal to let politicians try to fob us off with a weak, non-binding ‘deal’. Of course, our role will be just one small part of a whole array of action, pressure and protest, both here and at Copenhagen, which will ensure that the decisions taken have our future at their heart, and which will endure as long as necessary.

It’s not all about the trip – we want to make sure that the Copenhagen conference and the Climate Change issue get the publicity that they not only deserve, but truly need. Keep a look out for upcoming talks and events, including our fundraiser night of entertainment on Thursday Week 9 (Dec 3rd) at 8pm in ‘Jug and Jester’ (Leamington). If you want to get involved (please do!) or want more information, please get in touch. We hope to have a substantial 'campus team' who will coordinate things from this end, and they need volunteers! – email

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