by Devin Altobello
For the privileged who have convened in Durban, South Africa this is a pivotal gathering with an expected outcome. A generation known as presumptive; entitled; social and languid is given a face lift here at COP 17 where optimism, concern for the planet and each other charges through the collective body of young climate justice advocates.
I am capturing this energy and optimism that my generation is adamant to share, knowing that climate politics is of global importance. Instead of an overwhelming sense of vulnerability and powerlessness, I’m observing an intensified reaction to hegemonic world powers and corporate greed from young people across the world. The youth are demanding that big polluters change their methods, corporations must be held accountable, and governments are obliged to develop strategies for carbon mitigation and comprehensive programs for environmental sustainability.
I have been shadowing the COA delegation, using video to document their presence at the COP and the engagement of youth in environmental climate politics and diplomacy. I’m beginning to cover a wide range of policy issues, among them the future of the Kyoto Protocol, clean technology, reproductive rights and health, and adaptation—the term used to assist nations in reducing their vulnerability to climate change impacts.
Being around tuned-in, turned-on people, turns my switch. It’s exciting for me to observe my colleagues so engrossed and involved in a decision-making process through the UN that brings together the voices of 192 nations. At the end of each day I have been writing detailed notes on the footage shot during that day as to inform my work the following day. When I return to campus in January, I look forward to revisiting this adventure and crafting a cohesive story arc in post-production.