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November 28, 2012

COP18: First Day Shows Delegate the Meaning of Empowerment

Doha 1

Empower; em·pow·er/em'pou?r/Verb: 1. Give (someone) the authority or power to do something. 2. Enable (someone) to do something.

After seven years working in the environmental movement in Puerto Rico and United States, it was not until yesterday I realized the real meaning, in my personal experience, of the verb empower. The environmental movement is shifting and gaining a momentum of awareness and a sense of urgency.

Youth delegates of several organizations from the United States, Canada, Arab Nations and underrepresented countries and groups (Granada, Puerto Rico, etc.) came together at the Conference of the Youth (COY8th) with a message based on our commonalities: the same issues are affecting the planet biodiversity and the human societies.

Doha 2

On Monday, I had the opportunity to join the action #climatelegacy at the entrance of the Qatar National Convention Center, where the United Nations Framework Conference on the Climate Change/Conference of the Parties 18th (UNFCCC/COP18) is taking place. Youth stood along a walkway with signs that forced negotiators to see the real reasons we care about climate change– from Hurricane Irene to rising sea levels for island nations. After the action, we all joined a press conference to further share how climate change is affecting our communities.

Doha 3

That was my most empowering moment because, although we all came from different perspectives and backgrounds, we connected that we are all the cause of climate change and that we all can bring a solution based on equity and real change.  It was very valuable to share the experiences that bring us together in Doha, Qatar in an effort to make a change on the mindset of the negotiators and government representatives.

(Photos: Jim Dougherty)

-- Jahdiel Torres-Cabá is a MS Candidate of Conservation Biology at AUNE 

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