Youths at COP27 share their climate worries and hopes
While branded by some as a greenwashing event, young people are speaking up at the global summit to share their feelings on climate change.
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt: Some climate activists feel that they need to engineer big moves to make a difference, but it is action at a local level that could well be the key, United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) youth participant Terese Teoh said on Friday (Nov 11).
“I realised the power of local action because at a local level, you understand best, what your community needs, what issues the community faces,” she told CNA938’s Asia First, a day after the Nov 6 to Nov 18 summit marked a “youth and future generations” event.
Quoting a speaker at the UN-led talks, Ms Teoh said that activists may get caught up with saving the world, but what's needed is to save the “small little worlds that we are in and collectively together that's how we can save the world”.
Another youth activist, Rishika Selvan, said the global event has given her insights into decision-making processes and the barriers Singapore faces when negotiating with different countries.
“People from local communities need to know more about the decisions being made for them in this conference,” she added.
Similarly, Singaporean sustainability communicator Woo Qiyun - known for the Instagram account @theweirdandwild where she posts illustrations on climate change - said she wanted to bring back information gleaned at COP27 to demonstrate that what happens there is of relevance to her country.
While COP27 may have been branded by some as a greenwashing event, youth have been taking to the global summit to share their worries and hopes surrounding climate change.
Among the concerns of climate activist Marinel Ubaldo is the procrastination of leaders.
“As someone who has experienced climate disaster in my life, I don't understand why these people are still procrastinating on the climate crisis as if we have time,” she told CNA presenter Julie Yoo, who is covering the event in Egypt.
“We don't have time at all. We are reaching the point of no return. We are losing lives, we are losing people already.”
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
Ms Kate Yeo, another youth delegate from Singapore, said young people from Singapore want to be represented in such spaces.
“We really do care about the climate. I think there's a perception that we're apathetic, but that's really not true at all,” she added. “There are so many of us who care and want to be here and be included in the decision making processes.”
Pahang Regent Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah was optimistic about the role of youth.
Currently, about half of the world's population is under 30 years old, he noted.
“With that large representation, young people actually have the opportunity to tackle climate change,” he said.
“If we change the ways we consume and our everyday practices, we will have a big impact on climate change together.”