Before the Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) arrived in Paris, we only managed to secure a half yellow badges, second week only, before we departed. Hence, most of the MYD’s plans were occupied by the parallel events that does not require accreditation to enter, in simple words, open to public.
However, after we luckily get full badges for everyone (we only receive the good news when we reached Paris), many of us neglected the side events outside of the Parc des Expositions (COP21 venue) because we already have tons of events available in COP21 itself.
Nonetheless, I have tried exploring two renowned zones outside of the COP21- Climate Generation Zone (Green Zone) and Climate Action Zone (ZAC).
Climate Generation Zone
The first time I enter the green zone was to pass Winnie, Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)’s brochures. The first impression that I had for it was “as colourful as a circus”. I visited the Climate Generation Zone several times after that, mainly to have meetings and to be interviewed by Scott and Miranda (our friend from University of Northwestern who have tracked and filmed the MYD for the first week). The green zone is much more lively than the blue zone (COP21 venue) because it was decorated with fancy chairs and booths, packed with people in different customes (indigenous people’s traditional outfits, clown customes etc) and filled with energetic chants from the actions. Although I did not really visited every single booth in the zone, I spent some quality time with my group member Amalen walking, or running, around the booths there. What I observed from the booth is how they attract their audiences with their booth design, interactive machines and impressive brochure layout. The most memorable ones are the Juice Bar which generates power from bicycle dynamo and a booth made by paper boxes!
Climate Action Zone
I have been to this zone for only once, but the climate activism spirit stroke me so hard that I can still hear the loud cheer now. It is so different from what I’ve expected. I was expecting it to be packed with only a hundred people- some drawing banners, some visiting the exhibition and some joining a talk- a formal hall with chairs like how it was inside COP21 and a participant age range of 15-50. I was surprised to see more than two thousand people sitting on the ground, cheering as they listened to an arousing talk by climate activist. The atmosphere was extremely hyper and influential over there. As I could not find a place to even sit on the floor, I’ve stood to take note of the seminar that I intended to join, titled “Capitalism Against Climate: How Free Trade Agreements Undermine Climate Actions”.
The most surprising part was that the is a significant number of senior citizen in the crowd; they were cheering and clapping together with the youths. They were not there as a pass-byer, they were with their pens and notebooks – they were there to join the movement! Maybe the culture of elderly joining movements is not popular in Asia. I found this very interesting.
I actually missed some other happening places like the YOUNGO Art Space and the Place-to-B. I’m definitely very regretful about that but I’m glad that I did hopped into the two zones that I shared with you. These places reminded me that I’m not alone and recharged me so much after I drained my energy in the comparatively dull Parc des Expositions!
Written by Elaine