COP28 was a whirlwind. Imagine a convention where everyone is obsessed with climate change in a million different ways and we all get to attend Disney World. The parallels for Disney World were strong, given I’m from Florida, and am very familiar with navigating theme parks and waiting in lines in sunny, very hot climates. After over ten years of working and volunteering in climate advocacy spaces, this was my first time attending the annual Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP of the UNFCCC – they really love acronyms). Much has been said about the results of the convention that was signed on December 13 as I was flying home. We supported a fossil fuel phase-out and the agreement falls short of addressing the emergency we’re facing, but it was a step forward nonetheless. The following are a few short highlights from my time at COP28.
Working with the best of the best
The ACE team is fully remote, so I’ve only had the opportunity to be in person with colleagues a few times. I felt fortunate to attend COP with Director of Storytelling Jennifer Gonzalez, Youth Advisory Board member Puji Masireddy, Head of Education and Storytelling Reb Anderson, and Head of Philanthropy, Cristina Jorda Kinney. I also got to spend time with young change-makers like Kevin Patel, Delaney Reynolds, Victoria Whalen, Mavi Brilhante, Arielle King, Sage Lenier, Conrad Morgan and so many more. It’s a whirlwind of in-person opportunities, but it’s so big that organizers also use apps like whatsapp and signal to share movement opportunities and negotiation updates.
Puji says it best in this short video filmed on Youth, Children and Education Day: “Young people have the creativity and innovation needed in this climate movement, which is what we are so desperately missing.”
Youth, Children and Education Day presentations
December 7th was a rest day, and I’m so thankful, because our busiest day of course was Youth, Children and Education Day. I had the privilege of presenting twice, and Puji participated in a panel at the US Center run by the US State Department.
I’m very thankful for the Entertainment and Culture pavilion team for providing the space, and tech expertise to bring Our Climate Our Future Live to life on a global stage. The presentation was very well received and it was a privilege to speak with hundreds of passionate people about the climate education work we are doing.
Action for Climate Empowerment
My friends lovingly describe me as a climate nerd. I’m pretty obsessed with this problem, but I especially geek out about solutions. So I was in heaven at dozens of presentations throughout the two weeks learning about what everyone is working on. My favorite workshop was one titled Empowering a Fair, Equitable and Just Transition. This event aimed to raise awareness on how Action for Climate Empowerment (a different ACE) plays an important role in providing education and public awareness, training and public access to information and participation, and international cooperation on these matters, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
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