BENEFITING: SustainUs Inc
As you may or may not know, I was recently selected to help lead the United States Youth Delegation to the United Nations climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa from November 28 - December 9, 2011. I am excited and humbled; these negotiations are widely recognized as a critical turning point on environmental and sustainable development issues. It is there our international leaders must forge a strong and binding agreement to avert the global climate crisis.
Since the U.N. Bali negotiations in 2007, scientific evidence has mounted that global climate change is rapidly accelerating and is affecting every community. I have observed firsthand the dramatic effects of climate change while volunteering abroad in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea last year. Small coastal communities, some with populations as large as your hometown, have to move their homes hundreds of meters inland every 10 years due to sea level rise. They are subsequently running out of freshwater to drink and wash with because of saltwater intrusion into their wells. Their harvesting seasons are shorter and shorter each year due to shifting seasons, and the coral reef ecosystem as we know it today is doomed due to rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification.
This December in Durban, we have an opportunity to solve the climate crisis, rebuild our economy, and lift millions out of poverty. While the science behind it may be tricky, I hope by now you all know that global climate change is not a hoax, as some colorful politicians refer to it.
As an "Agent of Change" with SustainUS (for more information, see below), I will work with U.S. youth and young people from around the world in submitting policy recommendations, doing interviews with the media, and speaking with government delegates. Youth will bring our message into the negotiation halls: bold and immediate action to ensure a livable world for generations who will follow. In addition to bringing the perspective of the U.S. progressive youth to the table, I'll also be developing key personal and professional skills that will do wonders in aiding me in my chosen career path.
As you can imagine, traveling to South Africa is expensive. In addition to my own travel, I am attempting to raise funds to help some of the communities I've visited in the South Pacific adapt to the growing issue that is eating away at their livelihoods. My goal is to raise $3,500 before I leave in early December.