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17 December - Youth coalition inside / outside Bella Centre

Guest commentary from: Kirsty Schneeberger, UK Youth Climate Coalition. 8pm. 17 December


Climate Justice Fast

A woman poses for a photograph beside the COP15 Copenhagen logo at the entrance to the Bella on Dec 7, 2009. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

'Today over 5,000 people have joined in solidarity to fast for 24 hours, as part of the Climate Justice Fast.  The fast has been undertaken for 42 days (or just over 1,000 hours) by three youth advocates who have proved that the "impossible" can be done.  Indeed, they have shown us that when a goal is set - and if we show courage, determination and commitment - these goal can be achieved!


And this determination and courage can, and must, be shown when building a prosperous and vibrant society, full of clean and safe technologies.  This courage and determination needs to be shown by all leaders here in Copenhagen, building on the guidance and brilliant examples shown by the likes of President Nasheed of the Maldives and other least developed country delegates.


Young people participating in the negotiations

Here in Copenhagen civil society organisations have played a significant role in encouraging governments to show true leadership in determining how to safeguard the future of their peoples.  Some of the most prominent voices over the last 10 days have come from youth organisations, such as the UK Youth Climate Coalition Delegation.  These young people have come to the talks to advocate for the bright and prosperous future that they deserve:  a future free from pollution, and instead full of cutting-edge technologies that can solve an impending energy crisis in a clean and non-polluting way.


As a young person here in Copenhagen I have asked delegates 'how old will you be in 2050?', cheekily reminding them that I will still be here.  And this is why it is so important that the Copenhagen Agreement is Fair, Ambitious and Binding: because as a young person, I will inherit the world as our leaders leave it; and that every line they negotiate in the text is a line of my future.


Locked out of the conference

Unfortunately, however, since Monday this week I have been unable to access the Bella Centre, because of restrictions on the number of civil society organisations allowed in.  This is a tragic infringement of my right to participate in something that will directly affect my future.  And this has been deeply disempowering.


As a young person, I know how important it is that our leaders hear and listen to our voices, and understand that we are advocating for the solutions that we deserve to see.  But for the last three days I have not had the opportunity to even engage with any of our negotiators or Ministers to express these sentiments, and I have felt completely disengaged with the process.


In solidarity with the Climate Justice Fasters who have been working so hard to highlight the injustice of climate related impacts, I decided that I would embark on a 66 hour fast - because in 2050 I will be 66 years old!  Which I began o Sunday.


I then joined the global day of fasting today and will continue for a further 24 hours.


I hope that these actions will show the leaders inside the conference how dedicated to achieving our goals we young people are.  And that maybe they can understand that even though we are no longer directly in their vision, we are still here watching them.  Watching and hoping that they will make the right decisions to protect our futures.'


Kirsty Schneeberger, UK Youth Climate Coalitiion. 8pm. 17 December

Kirsty's message - 66 hours



Related links

The UKYCCC hosted a Youth Question Time event with the PM earlier this month

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition also spoke to us earlier in COP15.





Interactive timeline: road to Copenhagen

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Follow DECC on twitter

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Milestones on the road to Copenhagen

December 2009 (iStockphotos)

See what's happening in the lead up to Copenhagen this month