The jet-lag is slowly wearing off, and life is gradually settling back to normal here at home, but I can't shake this sense of urgency. There is so much that needs to happen between now and Copenhagen in December 2009.
The outcome of the Poznan conference means we are far from the goals that had been set out for this point on the road to a new climate change agreement. There was very little progress from last year’s Bali conference. I cannot comprehend why the world’s wealthiest nations are so selfishly concerned about money and power that they are putting our planet and its citizens at such inordinate risk.
Thankfully we have 3 billion youth around the world to rally the troops. You, me, our friends and family, their children and grandchildren, will all be targeted by this year’s International Youth Delegation to help spread the message that survival is not negotiable, and we need to have a new agreement text in place by Copenhagen in order to ensure the safety and survival of the world’s peoples. Talk to your politicians, your mayors and councilors, your parents, your bosses, and your friends. Spread the message far and wide – there is no second chance, and as it stands now, we don’t have a back-up planet to move to if we really screw up.
During the final days of the conference, 15 youth were selected to present a speech at a ministerial luncheon. The speech below conveys our request more clearly than I ever could:
Look at your youth.
We are half of the world's population - three billion strong.
We stand together to say to those true leaders that have been driving forward the global solution - we support you and we will help you, you will be those leaders that history will remember.
To those that are waiting to take action or are standing still - history will forget you.
And to those who are actively holding us back, history will denounce you.
We want to believe in this process - but your actions, or rather inactions, are making it nearly impossible. But know this, young people are organized, we are building movements that transcend the boundaries that you fail to overcome.
We stand united with small islands states, with less developed nations, with indigenous peoples - with every underrepresented group. They have a right to survival. We will not accept failure.
Look at your youth.
Are we not your own children?
Why will you not hear our voice, even when we stand in front of you?
Are you so blinded not to see the madness of inaction and delay?
How can you expect us to stand by when you create a world not worth living in?
How dare you condemn us to an economy in ruins, a climate in chaos, a broken future?
Look at your youth. Look them in the eye.
Will you be the first leaders to take climate change seriously, or the last not to?