On the first cold day of autumn, just days before his departure, I sat with a young man for a cup of  hot coffee. Sitting on a bench I took a moment for a mental note of my surroundings. Eli AllenNestled in the hills of Connecticut, Wesleyan University beckons the images of an old, small, New England college, like a scene from Good Will Hunting. I was meeting with a senior name Eli Allen who was preparing to fly to Pozan, Poland for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Allen is a member of Sustain US, a U.S. based youth network for sustainable development. The organization will be sending 23 delegates from around the country to Pozan for the international conference. Of all the applicants, Allen was selected because of his previous E.P.A. policy involvement concerning Environmental Health. “The rise in temperature will affect global health,” says Allen. “There will be an increase in malaria, cholera, and hepatitis because of the shift in our climate.”

For the 12-day conference starting December 1st, the United States will be joining 191 countries. Poznan LogoAs a lame duck administration, President Bush’s role will only be participatory since any agreement crafted at this time will be ratified by the new administration. Hence, the objective in Poland is to serve as a framework for the agreement to be made in Copenhagen next year. As the world awaits for our leaders to convene, Allen and the other participants are preparing for their voyage. The organization plans to bring bags of coal to distribute to countries who seek to abrupt the talks. They are going to represent the generations of Americans the world has only begun to see. So different from their predecessors, these educated, mobile, post-modern youth see the world for now what it is, but for what they envision the world to become. They are going to show the world our new America, and to demonstrate that a new time has begun.