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the power of youth and storytelling

December 7, 2010

By far, this is one of the best talks I’ve ever attended. I’m a science lover and I adore lectures and I’ve attended almost every oceans talk by scientists. Even though I’ve got 3.5 days of conference left, I know I’m never going to be as moved as I am now.

During the ‘bearers of future resposibility: engaging children and youth in building climate change resilience’ talk, we saw the very cool Yvo de Boer, Mary Robinson and Helena Molin-Valdez as panellists and a very special 5 guest panellists.

5 youth, all under the age of 20, were talking about their experiences as they live through an era and in countries that bear the brunt of climate change effects.

The opening was a video from El Salvador about how climate change and pollution and deforestation have melded all the seasons into one, turned once pure, clean rainwater into dark acidic droplets and taken away the places that once held natural coffee plantations and fond childhood memories.

It sounds corny, I know, but you wouldn’t have thought so if you’d seen it too. The message was so subtle and simple and when its narrated by a boy who has experienced all of the above changes, you can bet its heartfelt.

We then moved on to the talks by each of the youth present on the panel. They talked about their actions and projects back in their ome nations of Haiti, Mexico, Belize, Bolivia and Indonesia. Very cool stuff. Wendolyn, the Mexican youth, wore her unique dress made of paper and ither recycled materials. It was so pretty that I didn’t know that it was paper and I wanted to wear it to prom(really). Coralie Norris, the Haitian youth impressed the room by commenting on how cold the airconditioner was turned on to and how hypocritical it was of relief organizations currently in Haiti to be driving around in their cars and emitting GHGs. They were all amazing, but I don’t have the space to talk about each one of them, though they deserve it. With this, I know that our Earth is in good hands and their work will continue.

I’ll end off with a quote from Walter P.(12) from Belize

– “Hurricanes and floods are my reality, my life is real, and so am I”

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