CAC at COP25 Updates

  • General updates
  • Presented by SOI
  • Quotes from the participants
  • SOI alumni spotted
  • In the news

Question Period with Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change

© Jocelyn Lubczuk

Minister Wilkinson hosted a question period with a small group of Canadian youth. The cohort was offered a spot and so we drew names and Aiden was selected! 

However, it turned out that there were 5 SOI alum in the room! Dom Souris (Youth Climate Lab), Caroline Merner (Climate Guides), Sadie DeCoste (Youth delegate to UNFCCC negotiations), Aiden Cyr (Climate Action Cohort member) and Jocelyn Lubczuk (DFO).

CAC member Aiden Cyr and Minister Wilkinson

SOI 2017 alum Caroline Merner and Minister Wilkinson

Meeting with Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change

The Climate Action Cohort met at the Canadian delegation office with Ambassador Patricia Fuller, Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change. They discussed meaningful youth engagement, learnt more details about the Ambassadors role and had the opportunity to partake in a Q&A.

Climate Change Rally in the Streets of Madrid

On Friday, we left COP25 and marched on the streets of Madrid, along with 500,000 climate activists of all ages from all over the world. The singing, dancing, drumming, crying, and the chants demanding climate justice in multiple languages unified us. We quickly befriended other climate activists from across Spain and even found some Canadians! In contrast to the often formal and bureaucratic atmosphere of COP, the Climate March was energetic and joyful. It was a great reminder that the calls from within the UN to raise ambition are a result of the continued organizing by youth and advocates from Indigenous and frontline communities who are ready to take action and find tangible solutions to the climate crisis. As we’re learning about the intricacies of negotiations, it can be hard to stay motivated in the face of what seems like incremental progress – but the energy, urgency, and sheer number of people on the streets who share the same cause helped us come back to Week 2 of COP with renewed energy and motivation to advocate for young people, and for truly raised ambition.

Soomin Han & Shakti Ramkumar

Pizza Meetup in Madrid

How cool is it that alumni were able to have a meetup in Madrid while at COP25? The Climate Action Cohort members met up for an evening of pizza and fun with the youth crew from Tuktoyuktuk who are also SOI Alumni. Read about the Alumni spotted at COP25 below.

Presented by SOI

Aiden Cyr

On Wednesday December 11, Aiden took part in the Blue Leaders Event where the focus was on building climate resilience in the ocean — to protect #30by30. Aiden was invited as a Students on Ice alumni and spoke from the perspective of an indigenous youth on his relationship to the ocean and why 30 x 30 is important.

30 x 30 meaning 30% of the world’s oceans protected by 2030.

SOI connected a youth from a city to the oceans. Advocates for ocean protection can come from anywhere – the ocean is everyone’s domain and everyone’s responsibility.

Aiden Cyr
Shakti Ramkumar

On Wednesday December 11 Shakti took part in the panel on Ambition through National Action: Successes in System Transformation and Sectoral Decarbonization. She spoke on the role of youth in forcing systems change.

Shakti speaking in the WWF Pavilion at the Panda Hub

Click HERE to read Shakti’s points on why young people force systems change and watch a short video clip!

Marina Melanidis

Pictured below is CAC member Marina Melanidis speaking at the High Level Panel on forests where she spoke on sustainability and inclusion. Among many other things, Marina also hosted a rally called A Rally for Natural Climate Solutions!

Marina Melanidis, second from the left.
Rob Comeau

On Tuesday, December 2nd, SOI Alumni Rob Comeau took part in a panel discussion at the opening of the Cryosphere Pavilion at COP25! He spoke about putting a human face to the policy response of a 1.5 degree change in global temp rise & needing to ground it in Indigenous rights & knowledge.

Photo courtesy of Dr Benjamin Keisling @palaeobak on Twitter.

“I want you to know that 1.5C for the world means a lot more for my community. There is a human face to these numbers and charts. In Iqaluit our roads are melting, people fall through sea ice in places that used to be safe. We are losing the ways we relate to the world.”

Rob Comeau, 2015 & 2019 Arctic Alum

Quotes from the Participants

At the Youth4Nature panel on young politicians pushing for climate action, a politician from Panama, Carolina Martinez stated that “youth have the capacity and power to push the boundaries of climate action and that is the role we play at COP”. I was reminded of her quote while attending the most unconventional and moving panel of indigenous youth from the United States and other occupied states. These leaders are pushing the boundaries and paving new paths in international negotiations. I AM SO INSPIRED!! 

Soomin Han, 2017 Arctic Alum (pictured below)

“This is my first time at a COP, and it is overwhelming to know that so many things are going on at once, and that so many complex issues need to be addressed in a relatively short time. For me, following a few key issues has helped dive deeper into what is happening in that space, who is working on it, and where there might be some gaps. I am following land use, food systems, and agriculture, as our current agricultural system is deeply unsustainable and a significant contributor to climate change. Over the next 10 days, I’m curious to learn what role young people can play in transforming the global food system in a just and equitable way!”

Shakti Ramkumar, 2013 Antarctic Alum (pictured below)
Shakti Ramkumar © Soomin Han

“During the first 3 days of COP I have really been focusing on the Indigenous People’s Caucus, connecting with other Indigenous youth and people across the world. A lot of the conversations we’ve been having are about Article 6 (of the Paris Agreement about carbon markets) is about Ambition and for us Indigenous folks we talk about seven generations. It is not ambitious to think about seven generations, it’s essential.”

Mick Jefferies, 2015 Arctic Alum

“I know how difficult it is to edit a group project with 5 people – now imagine editing that same group project but instead of 5 people, its 200 countries all with different perspectives and values. That’s what drafting international policy is like. It’s really hard to get things done but each day I feel we get a little closer. “

Will Sanderson, 2014 Antarctic Alum

SOI Alumni Spotted

Impromptu alumni reunion with Jocelyn Lubczuk (2017 Arctic), Dom Souris (2018 & 2019 Arctic), Jenn Williams (SOI staff & alum), Sadie Decoste (2014 Antarctic) and Rob Comeau (2015 & 2019 Arctic and C3 Leg 8)!

SOI Education Manager Jenn Williams with C3 Leg 15 participant Elizabeth May, former leader of the Green Party of Canada.

#SOIArctic2019 reunion featuring Dominique Souris, Jennifer Williams, Martina Fjällberg and Robert Comeau!

Tuktoyaktuk youth group presenting film and speaking on panel

“Happening to Us” is part of Maeva Gauthier’s PhD thesis using participatory video to engage youth in the Arctic on global change.
Fun fact: the first time she went to Tuktoyaktuk she was funded through an SOI microgrant which allowed her to build the relationships to do this project!

Carmen Kuptana, 2017 Arctic Alumni & Maeva Gauthier, 2009 Antarctic Alumni – from Tuktoyuktuk who are here showcasing their awesome film ‘Happening to Us’ that explores climate impacts in their community. Learn more about their project here. 

Sadie DeCoste pictured with our Climate Action Cohort Members and Muhammad Koya from Youth Climate Lab!

Sadie DeCoste, 2014 Antarctic Alumni, who is at COP to advocate for ambitious action on loss and damage and is also representing the official Canadian delegation to advise the Canadian government on policy matters. If you’re interested in hearing her speak on these topics check out this video.

In the News

Kingston-area youth attends global climate conference

Read about Will Sanderson’s experience as part of the Climate Action Cohort at COP25 in this article by Elliot Ferguson for The Kingston Whig Standard:

Published on December 11, 2019:

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