There are so many concerns that demand our attention these days: our economy, our food supply, our source of energy.  When times are difficult, the concerns over the environment are placed on the back burner.  On December 1st nearly 4,000 participants comprising of delegates, staffs, activists, and lobbyists, met in Pozan, Poland  for the UN Framework on Climate Change.  Although the conference was given poor media coverage in the States, the convention attracted all of those who held stake in the UN’s treaty including businesses and civilians.  In November I spoke with Wesleyan senior Eli Allen as he prepared with the youth organization SustainUS for their journey to Pozan.  ( College Youths Embody New America and Head to the UN)  Now that the conference has ended, Eli has returned to the States and was gracious enough to speak with me, once again.

As a small youth organization, SustainUS joined 400 youths from across the world to form the International Youth Delegation (IYD).   In a conference as large as this, the IYD was capable of displaying a unified concern from the world’s youth on the global stage.  The members from SustainUs also served as liasons from the United States.  The Bush administration provided a passive voice at the conference, since the new administration will be the one to determine the US ‘s role in the global fight for climate change.  The group conversed with delegates and staff members in an attempt to ensure the new and changed America’s committment to the global participation.  With the understanding that international interests should also be national interests, Eli and his fellow participants are seeking to broaden international grassroots activism while broadening US support for a climate bill.  In order to ensure international success on climate change, “Domestic support is manadtory,” says Eli.

The world will convene once more this fall in Copenhagen, where the climate treaty will be signed.  I asked Eli what he and SustainUS will be doing in preparation for the autumn conference, to which he replied, “We came to a realization.  Small island developing states are the most progressive members of the UN, however they lack the resources to create change.  The global youth have the resources, but they lack the formal influences.  We have to combine the two to save all of us.” In times such as these, when everything seems to be crumble, it is refreshing to see those who are fighting to keep it all together.  I wish them success, not  just for their sake, but for the rest of humanity.

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