Delegates may have taken Sunday off, but youth from across Asia were busy organizing to shake up the negotiations and demand action from world leaders.
Nearly 100 youth from over 10 Asian countries joined the 350.org Asian Youth Climate Workshop last weekend to learn about the climate crisis, the UNFCCC, and prepare to create a breakthrough moment on the Road to Copenhagen: a massive day of action on October 24 with thousands of events at iconic places around the world. The workshop was also supported by Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace Solar Generation, TckTckTck, and the People’s Action on Climate Change.
“This is the first time youth in Asia have come together to really focus on building a movement to push for a strong international climate treaty,” said Abe Woo, 350.org Southeast Asian Field Organizer. “We’ll not only be sending a wake-up call to world leaders on 24 October, we’ll be launching a lasting movement for change.”
Participants included the leaders of a growing network of youth climate organizations, including the China Youth Climate Action Network, the Malaysian Youth Climate Justice Network, and Nepali Youth for Climate Action. For some students, however, it was their first time participating in a workshop on climate change, a march, and the UNFCCC negotiations.
“I’ve been so inspired this weekend,” said Jesse James Marcellones from the Philippines. “I think we’re all going home with a new sense of energy and determination.”
That energy will be put to the test over the next 18 days. On 24 October, youth across Asia will join people of all ages around the world for the International Day of Climate Action to call on world leaders to sign a treaty in Copenhagen that reduces the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million.
In order to drive the 350 number home, students will be riding 350 bicycles through downtown Hanoi, hanging a 350 banner on the famous Krabi cliffs in Thailand, and diving underwater with 350 banners to endangered coral reefs off the coast of Malaysia. Other highlights from around the world include actions on Mt. Everest, Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians joining together at the Dead Sea to form a giant 3, 5, and 0, and President Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldives leading 350 of his citizens in an underwater protest off his sinking island.
The 350 target is now supported by leading scientists, including Dr. James Hansen and Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, 90 of the world’s most vulnerable countries, and hundreds of organizations around the world.
“Look, as youth, we know our survival is at stake,” said Khairun Nisa of Malaysia. “If Manila is underwater and the glaciers are melting at 387 parts per million, why are world leaders talking about turning the dial up to 450 ppm? Science and justice demand 350, so that’s what the youth will be working for.”