This guest post was written by David Solheim in Bali. Solheim is the student body president at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Early Wednesday evening, youth from around the world took the stage to speak a simple truth to the delegates at Bali. In a press conference convened in conjunction with UNICEF, youth spoke about the effects of climate change on their homes, the need for action, and the formation of a global youth movement.
“A two degrees rise in global temperatures is not acceptable. It is not a target. Two degrees risks falling off a cliff into global climate catastrophe,” said Amanda McKenzie, of Australia. “As young people, we’d like a better insurance policy.”
The press conference underscored the importance of involving young people in the process of addressing climate change. People under the age of 30 constitute 48% of the world’s population and will likely shoulder the burden of a changing climate should international talks lead to inaction by policymakers. To many young people around the world, these figures prove that youth deserve a seat at the negotiating table.
Over the past two weeks, hundreds of youth from over 20 nations and every region of the world have descended upon the United Nations Climate Change Conference to encourage their delegations to put aside domestic excuses and rally around a brighter future for their children.
Pre-conference rumblings of a global youth movement are being realized here in Bali, as young people are networking in the fashion of the 21st century. Text messages, wiki, and Google docs abound.
Wednesday’s press conference left little doubt that international youth are collaborating to send a clear message, and that if they can cooperate so effectively, so too must national leaders.