Elizabeth Bevon, 23, is a Raleigh ICS Nicaragua alumnus from Manchester. Lizzy attended a workshop called “A green future for all”, hosted by the UK Youth Climate Coalition, including UKYCC. The session aimed to bring together international development, the UN, climate change and young people. It covered the importance of fighting climate change within international development and the action young people can take to support a sustainable global future. The session also featured information on how to influence the UN climate talks.

Five take-aways from the session:

1. Social media and technology have become incredibly important to hold politicians, decision makers and big business to account over their actions on climate change. For example, UKYCC embarrassed Ed Davey, the ‘Missing Ministerial’ at the climate conferences in Bonn 2014, and the current #LazyLeader campaign. (http://ukycc.org/the-missing-minister-in-ministerial-ed-davey-why-arent-you-coming-to-bonn/ & http://ukycc.org/cameron-dont-be-a-lazyleader/)

2. There have been huge leaps and bounds in including young people in the discussion on climate change. 1999 was the first time a young person was allowed to speak at a UN conference; at the COP 21 in Paris this year, there will be 20,000 young people getting involved. You can make your voice heard by sending a ‘Postcard to Paris’ as part of the campaign being run by UKYCC.

3. We need to push for action. In 1997 the Kyoto Protocol agreed that they would have legal outcomes by 2015! That’s 18 years of politicians and decision makers dragging their feet while the situation on climate change deteriorated. Not only that, but it seems that countries will only agree to the bare minimum on climate targets. This is simply not good enough. What about our future?

4. The way in which the UN negotiates can be incredibly frustrating and confusing. They delay action for years, use confusing acronyms and complicated jargon and seem to ignore the plight of smaller, less powerful nations. UKYCC can help break this down and make conferences more digestible (see video). We need to force the UN to create a clear, coherent narrative surrounding climate change so we know what we are supporting and how to action to support it!

5. Finally, this workshop proved that young people are not apathetic and disengaged with the world around them, in fact there are so many passionate young people willing to do whatever it takes. We are worried about our future or whether we will even have one if action is not taken on climate change. What is most important is to keep the enthusiasm and drive going forward in the next 15 years to ensure we meet the Global Goals.

Picture: Jessica Lea/DFID