Lessons from the U.N. by a uOttawa Student

Youth sit together in protest against inaction against climate change during COP 18

I recently had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Doha Qatar for the UNFCCC COP18.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically where a bunch of countries from around the world gather together and talk about how climate change is a big problem, but then find excuses (largely the economy) to do almost nothing about it.

It seems countries can’t cooperate long enough to actually agree on real ambitious climate targets. Now I suppose that this all should be very disheartening, and there were definitely moments that were, but overall I’d say it was a positive experience for personal growth.

I was able to meet and collaborate with other youth from around the world who like me are working to sustain our environment. Together we shared skills, ideas, and projects we had heard of, or were working on, and from that we became stronger and smarter.

It reminded me of the importance of cooperation and collaboration, but more so it reminded me of the conversations I had been having before I left to go to the conference. I had exchanged a few emails with a student from another university who was interested in learning more about how UOttawa had become bottled water free, so that she and her colleagues might do the same.

Naturally I had put her in contact with a co-worker who was already working on a document to assist other University with exactly that question  The reality is that although we can create great change through our individual choices and day to day actions, we can create even greater change when we work together with others. As we help some become bottle water free, others will help us strengthen the sustainability programs we are working on.

From my experiences at the UNFCCC, to inter-campus relations, to intra-campus relations, the fact remains we are stronger together than we are apart.  So come volunteer with the Sustainability Office, and share with us your ideas, and skills, and we will do the same with you. And together we can build a more sustainable campus, and a more sustainable world.


kira ~ campus sustainability coordinator
photo credit - kira lamont


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