by Bogdan Zymka
I came to Rio disillusioned. Months of studying Sustainable Development, the UN, arms trade, treaties, subsidiary bodies, institutional frameworks, jurisdictions, trade rules, embargoes, power struggles, internal politics, people’s faces, and people’s policies left me believing that a lot more harm than help is getting done at these conferences. I would go on Mahknovist rants about power hierarchies and local economies to the point where I got stuck in the position of the perpetual devil’s advocate.
Then, during the Youth Blast, an official space for youth to voice their opinions before the start of Rio +20, we held a workshop titled “The Future We Really Want” giving the youth a space to voice their frustrations, opinions, goals, and idealism. We made sure to give them a space that was truly theirs, free from power struggles, and free from high priced linen suits.
Now there is a group of (mostly men) negotiators, in their high-priced linen suits, in a room deciding the future for the 3,650,400,000 of us who won’t stand for it. Keep your eyes and ears open, the youth are informed and empowered, and we’re mobilizing.