Date: Thursday, 26th November 2015
Author: Loh Rachel, 18 (Selangor, Malaysia)
Current location: Yoyogi Olympics Memorial Youth Center (Tokyo, Japan)
First things first, hello! I’m Loh Rachel from the Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD15) and am currently attending the Conference of Youths on Climate Change (COY11) in Tokyo! Feel free to ask me about COY11, MYD or anything at all through my social media networks.
So, I mustered a little courage today and spoke up during the roundtable discussion where we connected (via Skype) with all the COY conferences across the world in Brazil, India, Canada and France, to name a few. I was definitely nervous represent the youth voices of COY 11 Tokyo, but I am so glad I did! I always seem to have a problem voicing out my opinions to a large audience, afraid of their judgements, but I have learnt that we all deserve a voice and if you don’t speak up when necessary- you. Will. Regret. It.
One of the best parts of my day was producing part one my group’s discussion during the “Youth of East Asia Action Agenda” (YEAAA) session. We collectively decided on the topic of Haze in East Asia, while others concluded on various topics such as conservation of biodiversity, poverty, the rise in sea levels, etc. My group was positively charged with energy. From tackling the causes of the haze to delving deep into the consequences and its relevance to climate change, we achieved A LOT during that session. Wooohoooo, go productivity! We’re ready for part two where we will talk about solutions and the logistics of incorporating this pertinent issue in our COY11 Tokyo manifesto.
Second best part of the day was when the MYD group consisting of Ginger, Sze Ming and me going out for a stroll to the Meiji Shrine! We witnessed the mesmerising beauty of the fall colours merging with the traditional Japanese architecture. It was so beautiful that we decided to walk there every morning.
So, aside from learning a few Japanese phrases (e.g. Mataashita : see you tomorrow), I’ve learnt more about the negotiation process in COP21 through a film called “Make It Work” by Theatre de l’air, where students from various universities around the world experienced a COP simulation and ended up negotiating as representatives of entities (e.g. Soil) instead of the usual format (i.e. Countries). The documentary provided a wonderful insight to the harsh reality of the negotiating process in COP.
Lastly, my goal for attending COY11 is to establish a network with like minded people who are passionate about climate change and the environment, learn more about climate change and how youths can or should be involved, and make sure our voices are heard by world leaders in time for COP21. And today, though I didn’t achieve the first goal as I believe it takes time to foster strong bonds of friendship, I believe I will achieve it in the long run. As for the latter, I strongly believe we as youths achieved that today and I hope we can continue to keep this energy as we proceed with the next two days!
Domo arigatou once again to Air Asia for sponsoring our flights! I’ll be posting daily updates, so please stay tuned. 🙂