The History of [Earth]
College of the Atlantic has always attracted students who are interested in a diverse set of environmental and social issues that can only be addressed effectively at the international level. Our academic focus on Human Ecology – the study of humans’ interaction with their natural and social environments – contains an inherently global dimension.
From the earliest days of the college, when we sent student representatives to the International Whaling Commission meetings, students have understood the importance and opportunities afforded by international negotiations in addressing these issues. This is a short chronology of past student engagement which form the basis upon which more recent Earth in Brackets activity is built.
In the first half of 2014, we had two COA students attend the 12th Session of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals at the UN HQs. The students prepared through Doreen’s Global Environmental Politics, which involved two weeks of mock negotiations on the SDGs.
We created more resources for other youth: a podcast on the history of sustainable development, and a new infographic on the Plant Treaty.
Fall is a busy time for Earth in Brackets. This year we will have our second delegation to the Committee on World Food Security, dealing with, among other things, the 10-year review of the Right to Food Guidelines, Food Loss and Waste, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and responsible agricultural investment. At the same time, another COA student is taking part in the 12th COP for the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In December, we will have our 10th delegation attending the UNFCCC COP, this year it will be in Lima, Peru.
In 2019, Earth In Brackets focused on organizing protests in Bar Harbor. Since the focus was local, we contacted the MDI high school climate group to help plan. Little did we know this was the start of strong partnership.
2020 was a year of change for Earth in Brackets. This is the year of the Corona virus and the killing of George Floyd. This time period inspired global conversations about how racism in intrinsically intertwined with so many other issues, including politics, health, and climate change.
At the end of Winter term, COA decided to close its campus and have Spring term online. As confusing as this transition was, Earth in Brackets met via zoom to discuss global climate news and to structure online interviews (which can be found on the blog).
Earth in Brackets continued to meet throughout the summer to continue their work from the previous term.
We widened the scope of our policy focus by sending a representative who reported back from the CITES (trade in endangered species) negotiations in Bangkok, Thailand.
At the World Social Forum in March work for the Global Campaign continued as new allies were sought in the midst of revolutionary Tunisia. Earth in Brackets were present in the “Climate Space” as part of the Global Campaign coordinating committee.
Our single person representation continued when Anjali participated as a facilitator of Global Power Shift in even more revolutionary Istanbul, Turkey.
We launched our new site and continue to work on making it a resource for the international youth climate movement, publishing our infographics on the different UN environmental platforms.
Six past and present Earth in Brackets members traveled to Lofoten, Norway, at the Young Friends of the Earth Europe summer camp. They worked to build bridges between grassroots activism and the international sphere as part of a coherent civil society strategy on climate.
The remainder of 2013 saw Earth in Brackets continue the work for a better world at US Powershift in Pittsburgh, USA, its first deelgation to the Food Security negotiations in Rome, Italy, and the UNFCCC COP19 negotiations in Warsaw, Poland.
2012 was a very busy year for Earth in Brackets. Students blogged from sustainable development preparatory meetings in New York, UNFCCC subsidiary body meetings in Bonn, Germany, the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, France, and from CBD COP11 in Hyderabad, India.
In June, having spent the spring preparing in the “Road to Rio+20” class, fourteen students and two faculty spent two weeks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. They were actively involved in planning mass civil society actions within the UN. They also produced a set of booklets on climate justice, food security, and water scarcity that were used as lobbying and educational tools at the summit.
The spring term saw some changes as Earth in Brackets entered COA’s sustainable venture “hatchery.” Nathan and the team spent the term trying to define who and what Earth in Brackets is and grappled with marketing, public relations, internal guidelines, as well as questions of purpose and process. The vision of an evolving activist group within COA was articulated.
In late summer, many grassroots NGOs and representatives of Southern social movements launched a Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice. Earth in Brackets was involved from an early stage and, through Nathan, is an active member of the coordinating committee.
Over Fall term, Earth in Brackets began meeting as a COA “club” and started attracting new members to the cause. A delegation of twelve students prepared for UNFCCC COP18 in Doha, Qatar by taking Dr. Stabinsky’s “Practicum in Environmental Diplomacy.” Many also took an advanced tutorial in international environmental law with Ken Cline. The delegation organised a meeting with US and Canadian allies in October, in order to develop joint strategies for their work in the UNFCCC.
In May four students attended CSD-19 with the SustainUS delegation where they delivered several “interventions” on behalf of the Major Group for Children and Youth. Nathan, Trudi, and Graham then attended a smaller negotiation in Montreal, Canada, under the CBD. The first meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP-1) dealt with access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources. Dr. Stabinsky’s “Global Environmental Politics,” has included mock negotiations of the recently negotiated Nagoya Protocol.
During the fall term, students prepared for UNFCCC COP17 in Durban, South Africa by taking an advanced tutorial in climate politics. They were joined in Durban by newcomer Julian Velez and documentary filmmaker Devin Altobello, who produced “[Earth] Durban” in the months following the negotiations. Durban saw a significant increase in online activity, with the delegation churning out 60 blogs and hundreds of tweets as they reported live from the scene. Students were also involved in tracking negotiation sessions and press conferences, as well as participating in protests. Some of the team drafted a speech that Anjali Appadurai delivered at the high level plenary. That speech, ending in an Occupy Wall St style “mic check,” went viral and saw Anjali feature on Democracy Now! Al Jazeera and The Guardian.
In February two students attended the Commission on the Status of Women as part of SustainUS delegation.
In May, five students joined the SustainUS delegation for the 17th Commission on Sustainable Development. The thematic areas of the CSD included agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification, and Africa.
In the fall, three students attended a UNFCCC intersessional negotiation in the lead up to COP 15 in Copenhagen.
In December, fifteen students and professors Cline and Stabinsky attended UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen Denmark. To prepare for the negotiations two classes “The Road to Copenhagen” and “Advanced International Environmental Law Seminar” were offered for the first time. Students blogged about their experience on an Earth in Brackets wordpress site and fundraised to support participation of youth from Latin America in the negotiations. Juan Soriano delivered a damning speech on behalf of youth NGOs to the high level plenary.
In May three students attended CSD-18 in New York as members of a SustainUS delegation. The themes for the CSD-18 and CSD-19 cycle were Transport, Waste Management, Mining, Chemicals and the 10 Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production. The students also remained after the CSD session and participated in the first preparatory meeting towards Rio+20.
In December a group of ten students attended UNFCCC COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, where they were heavily involved in “inside” actions. Cancun also witnessed a general shift toward policy-focused blogging. Students had prepared by taking Dr. Stabinsky’s “Climate Justice” class which included, among other assignments, devising and debating various frameworks and models for equitable burden sharing of emissions reductions.
In May, four students attended the 16th Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) as part of a SustainUS delegation. The thematic areas for the 16th CSD included agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification, and Africa.
In December, four COA students and Doreen Stabinsky attend the COP14 UNFCCC negotiations in Poznan, Poland.
COA students helped organize civil society actions at the Commission on Social Development (CSocD) at the United Nations.
COA students attended the 14th meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development.
Doreen Stabinsky and Ken Cline take seven students to the COP/MOP of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Biosafety Protocol in Curitiba, Brazil. For the first time, students use a daily blog as a way to inform and activate a much broader youth and civil society engagement in the negotiations.
Six COA students attend COP12 UNFCCC negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya. Students all took specifically designed classes to prepare for participation in the negotiations.
In a dinner before leaving for negotiations, students were discussing the lack of progress in the climate negotiations. Former EPA international lawyer Barbara McLeod and Ken Cline suggested that an appropriate emblem for the climate negotiations would be a symbol with the earth surrounded by brackets – i.e. that the future of the planet was contested. Senior Alex Fletcher ran with that idea and had t-shirts printed for the COA delegation and for members of the Youth Environment Network Kenya to wear at the Nairobi negotiations. The logo for Earth in Brackets was born.
Doreen Stabinsky, Ken Cline and Gray Cox take six COA students to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Prior to the trip, all of the students were enrolled in an advanced class on sustainable development taught by Dr. Stabinsky.
Ken Cline’s International Environmental Law and Policy class attended and participated in the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in New York.
In February, one student joined the SustainUS delegation to the 45th Commission for Social Development, which focused on promoting employment and decent work for all.
In May, four students attended the 15th Commission on Sustainable Development as part of a SustainUS delegation. The CSD focused on air pollution/ atmosphere, industrial development, climate change, and energy for sustainable development.
In December, two COA students attend COP13 UNFCCC negotiations in Bali, Indonesia as part of a SustainUS delegation.
COA students attended and helped organize youth at the 13th meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).
One of the WSSD students attended COP 7 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Two COA students participated in the UNEP Youth Conference in Bangalore, India to formulate the role of youth in the Millennium Development Goals.six COA students participated in UNFCCC COP11 in Montreal, Canada (also the first Meeting of the Parties of the Kyoto Protocol).
COA hires Dr. Doreen Stabinsky in 2001 as a half-time faculty member in International Politics.
Students in Ken Cline’s International Environmental Law and Policy class attended (and supported Southern NGO’s in) negotiations over the UN Convention to Combat Desertification at the United Nations in New York.