Introduction: Born into A World of Crisis
Born into a world in crisis
Our state leaders have been negotiating climate change for 24 years, yet the speed with which we drive towards our own destruction is breathtaking. We only need to think of this year’s summer droughts, or read the latest IPCC report to understand that climate change is threatening our future. We, as young people, are becoming increasingly aware that we were born into a world in crisis.
Last year, in 2017, Fiji launched a process that tries to break this circle of pessimism and give us hope. Following the tradition of Talanoa, it asked state leaders and citizens alike to speak openly about climate change and abandon their differences. In Talanoa, everyone is invited to tell their stories by answering the questions “Where are we?”, “Where do we want to go?”, and “How do we get there?” The responses paint a new image of climate change. Graphs and numbers are turned into a mosaic of individual stories. Hopeful stories remind us that we are not alone in our fight for the environment. Talanoa invites us to communicate openly with each other to draw strength from collective action. Also, in UN climate negotiations it gives state leaders an alternative platform to the competitive talks that have failed to bring the results that we need. Thousands of stories have already been exchanged, fostering climate action worldwide.
As a group of 25 students from Amsterdam, we decided to make a contribution to Talanoa by setting up the Local Conference of Youth (LCOY) of the Netherlands. We created a safe space where people with different background but shared goals feel encouraged to interact with each other. This conference brought together 200 young people from across the Netherlands to meet, learn from, and enter into dialogue with one another. Moreover, in nearly 100 different workshops covering 12 different themes, people got the chance to learn about different facets of climate change. At the LCOY, people understood that isolated actions are not sufficient and that only by creating a web of actions can we achieve the necessary impact.
This report is a continuation of the LCOY on paper. It tells the stories of a number of young climate activists who took part in the conference and have found different ways to engage with climate change. We hope that for you as a reader, these stories will be a source of learning and will inspire you to commit to action.