by Donna Gold (from a press release)
Sporting an orange t-shirt with the question, “How old will you be in 2050?”—referring to the fact that in 40 years the youth of today will be experiencing the effects of climate change while many of the leaders negotiating the treaty will be gone—Juan Carlos Soriano presented the youth statement to the plenary today. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07HSJMtd1Uc[/youtube]
In 2050 he will be 64 years old.
Representing the thousands of youth of Copenhagen, Juan accused the UNFCC of becoming the “divided nations” and called on the delegates to sign a “fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement.” He concluded his powerful, short speech by declaring that the youth, “will keep on working and keep on pushing you harder until this deal is sealed.”
Lauren Nutter and Juan Soriano working in Copenhagen. Both are SustainUs leaders
When asked, months before, why he cared so much about climate change, Juan recalled his summers spent visiting his grandmother in the highlands of the Huaylas Valley. “The Andes have some of the most beautiful snowcapped mountains in South America. But every time I visit, I witness the consequences of environmental degradation. Not only are the glaciers melting but also the fruits from my grandma’s orchard are not the same because an abnormal proliferation of mosquitoes is damaging crops and forcing farmers to use pesticides. The frogs that once fed on the mosquitoes disappeared a few years ago; their extinction has been attributed to the shortening of hibernation periods as a result of a rise in temperature.”
Though the youths are disappointed with the outcome of the talks, they are finding some hope in their unity. In an interview after his speech Soriano spoke about how well organized the youth have become through the process. “We have managed to create a Latin American youth network. Integration among youth regionally and worldwide is something meaningful that has come out of this conference.”