If climate change doesn’t affect Middle Earth yet – except perhaps in the Cabot Institute of the University of Bristol’s model -, it nevertheless remains a burning issue for our world with some strong Tolkienian accents. From 1st to 11th June 2015, the World Conference Center of Bonn (Germany) hosted the annual United Nations intermediary climate negotiations and prepared the road to the December 2015 COP21 Summit in Paris. For the dozen of young delegates of CliMates and REFEDD, stepping into these international talks for fighting against climate change, struggling for making their recommendations being heard by the world leaders, and carrying the hope of worldwide youth has been quite an exciting and stimulating journey.
Up to now resting in their own comforting Parisian Shire and preparing their diplomatic adventures in the wooded Germany, they vivaciously answered to a deep and sincere call for action. Indeed, there was no need for the coming of twelve bearded dwarves and a tall magician to get them into the thrill of acting for the transition to greener societies and on the behalf of their kind. Moreover, by taking on the mantle, they challenged their national emissaries at the climate negotiations to continue to carry the torch of change towards more responsible economic and social systems. In other words, the French young delegates decided to be some unexpected visitors, those who surprise you by an unpredicted coming and try to remind you the reasons why you decided to take the road.
“You’ve been sitting for far too long. […] I remember a young hobbit who was always running off in search of Elves in the woods. He’d stay out late, come home after dark, trailing mud and twigs and fireflies.”
Gandalf, Bilbo The Hobbit: An unexpected journey (2012).
Once entering into the arena of climate negotiations, they sadly discovered how divided the international community was, facing the non-border issue of climate change. Alike the never-ending battle between Dwarves and Elves, it looks like developed and developing countries, private companies and NGOs, parties and observers, are fiercely fighting instead of taking common action against the one and only enemy : (dragon-like) global warming. But will there be a man such as Bard the Bowman, driving them all beyond the differences? Should it be the role of youth to push the negotiators to consider there is only one planet and that if we’re not acting right now, nobody will be able to do it later?
If there is no Ent speaking in the name of nature at the climate negotiations, there are representatives from all around the world. They are not only ambassadors of their countries and governments; they are speakers for civil society and people, sort of secret defenders of the widow and the orphan. As delegates for youth organizations, the representatives of CliMates and REFEDD had the important task to propose a new vision of the negotiations and to promote the consultation of young people, as the heirs of the planet, to the official negotiators. They can only do it by working altogether with the other countries’ youth delegations and by empowering YOUNGO, the youth constituency of the UNFCCC.