With COP21 fast approaching and the world looking to its leaders to take a stand and make strong and inclusive changes to climate laws, this year’s Environment Plenary Session was sure to be a momentous one. It was also made clear at the global caucuses that climate change is a priority for the One Young World community, with climate change being identified as the biggest threat to future generations.
The keynote address, made by Co-Founder and CEO of Water.org, Gary White, gave a passionate speech about climate change and his particular passion - water. He spoke about how the most destructive ways that we will experience climate change is through water, whether its drought, floods or rising sea levels. He ended his speech, calling on the delegates to find the interception between their passion and something that the world needs, just as he did before founding Water.org.
Following the keynote speech, One Young World Counsellor and CCTV Anchor, James Chau, introduced Aushim Merchant (Thailand) onto the stage. Aushim spoke about his company that turns landfill waste into petroleum, inspiring the delegates to go home, identify what is causing problem in their countries and reach out to the community for innovative solutions. Gary White returned to introduce Heloise Greeff (South Africa), who spoke fluently and ardently about the importance of water sustainability, saying that 'we cannot manage, what we cannot measure'. Min Woo Kim (South Korea), introduced by Elio Leoni-Sceti, the Former CEO of EMI and Iglo, also spoke about the importance of water sustainability and introduced his #lickitclean campaign to the audience. He wants to use the campaign to raise awareness about food waste and waste in general.
Introduced by Angelica Cheung, Editor-In-Chief of Vogue, Marshall Islander Bryant Zebedy, gave an incredibly emotional speech that ensured that nobody was in doubt about what climate change means for the Pacific Islands. His speech, which received a standing ovation, was reminiscent of the ‘not drowning, but fighting’ campaign, which One Young World Ambassador and fellow Marshall Islander, Yoshiko Yamaguchi, so emotionally talked about in Dublin. The campaign brought international attention to the Marshall Islands when they prevented coal ships from entering an Australian harbour.
The final Delegate Speaker, Parker Liautaud (France), was introduced by Former Australian Cricket Captain, Steve Waugh. Parker is a seasoned climate campaigner and a One Young World Ambassador and said that if COP21 fails this time, we will not have the luxury of crying on the sidelines that world leaders have failed us again.
These Delegate Speakers are passionate, young and inspiring and prove that the younger generations are more then ready to take the lead in campaigning for new climate laws. This is also evident in One Young World's Call On COP campaign, which is being run from the Summit this year.
Call on COP is the most global action on climate change in 2015, young leaders from every country in the world have been addressing their Heads of Government on mainstream media two weeks before the Paris Climate Conference - COP21. Each Call On COP delegate will deliver an impactful speech highlighting how climate change is endangering our future. 20 years of UN climate negotiations have been unable to produce a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change. The united voice of young leaders will help to ensure that governments act to avoid catastrophic climate change.