Carlota Calvo is a One Young World Ambassador from Spain who attended the 2015 Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. She is passionate about youth empowerment and education.
On Wednesday 18th November the city of Bangkok hosted the Opening Ceremony of the One Young World Summit. The event was an amazing call to action from an older generation of leaders to us, the 2015 One Young World cohort. We are a group of 1,300 of the world's brightest millennials working for multinationals, NGOs and studying at universities. We are socially conscious and driven to develop solutions to the world's most pressing issues.
Sir Bob Geldof's speech was, in my opinion, and according to most of the delegates I asked, the most controversial and inspiring. The to do list he left for us was not easy to hear. It was a way to call our attention and put us to action. The fact that he referred to his speech at the 2014 Summit really drove home his point. Since then, tensions and conflicts around the world have worsened. He is more and more certain that armed conflicts similar to those the world suffered in the 19th and 20th centuries are approaching.
"This has not been a good year", he told us, referring to us as ladies and gentleman, no longer kids. He stated that brutal force and violence are replacing the offers of understanding and tolerance; that belief triumphs over reason; and emotion over intellect; and what's more impactful is that people from our generation are responsible. This statement provoked a painful silence. For most of us it is difficult to believe that people our age are provoking the conflict in Syria, the murders in Beirut and the horror in Paris. That's why Geldof encourages us to be the ones acting to stop them; because we are not the future, we are the present.
That's why he and in his own words the "leaders of yesterday" want us to stop with the radicalism of beliefs and emotions; to fight for a world driven by thoughts, tolerance, love and understanding; to leverage on empathy to achieve these goals. We have to benefit from technology; not leaving it to be monopolised by radicals, but to spread reason and thought.
We have to start to take action now. It is urgent! As Geldof pleaded, we mustn't lose any opportunity. We are lucky to have the chance to begin having an impact at COP21, the Paris Climate Talks.
The initiatives to be set should be concerted, coherent, cohesive and consensual. We need our government to invest on Research and Development to stop climate change.
If we don't achieve a legally binding agreement on climate change, billions of poor people around the world will lose the land that sustains their lives. This will only serve to intensify conflict between ethnicities and nations - fighting for an ever smaller pool of resources.
To summarise the main points on the to do list:
- Young leaders need to influence our governments to be more active in fighting climate change.
- Make changes in our daily lives to have a positive impact.
- To raise awareness of major issues and help our peers to make a difference.
- To be brave voices in the face of violence - as it is our generation who are committing atrocities across the globe.
- And most importantly - to formulate action plans that allow us to tackle pressing issues in our own countries.
Now the Summit is over it is time for us to stop talking and take action!