Youths of COP: A brief Q&A with people met at COP23.
Q: Please tell me about yourself.
A: My name is Julius Schlumberger, 23 years of age and currently living and studying in Aachen, Germany. At RWTH Aachen I am going to finish my Bachelor studies in Environmental Engineering next year. My engagement in the climate change scene started in February 2016 after successfully applying to join Youth Alliance for Future Energies. Youth Alliance for Future Energies is a youth delegation that is actively involved in the UNFCCC processes for several years now. Since SB44 I have been mainly focusing on adaptation and raising awareness for the impacts of climate change and climate policy in general. The past 10 months I was one of two coordinators responsible for organizing COY13. Besides that, I held a two-week course at a summer school for German pupils focusing on the international climate negotiations.
Q: What inspired you to be involved in the fight against climate change?
A: I have been following developments regarding climate change, environment and sustainability for several years by participating in many Model United Nations conferences. However, reading all the news about countries failing to do the needed to save our planet, I did realize that I do not want to use all my time and energy for only participating in roleplay simulations. I realized that I want to join the voices of other young people that demand more climate action to make sure that our and the future generations do not suffer from lack of our engagement.
Q: Why did you take up the responsibility of organizing COY?
A: I was already following the planning processes around COY12 because I was convinced that COY is an amazing concept to bring together young people with different experiences and knowledge, to build new friendships and strengthen the international youth climate movement.
Given that COY is commonly organized by youth in the COP-hosting country, the decision to take the responsibility of organizing COY was a once in a lifetime decision to make. Even though I had no experience with organizing conferences at all, I decided to take the responsibility, since COY is about building capacities of youth, learning new crucial skills. Also, if you always stay in your comfort zone, you will never be able to make an impact.
Q: What is the one most interesting thing about COY?
A: The most amazing thing about COY is to see that many young people from all different parts of the world are getting together because they are all passionate about their future and the future of their children. It is extraordinary to feel all the positive energy, reflection, and optimism in workshops and discussions at COY13. The young people participating in COY13 are really interested in learning new things, sharing their experiences and find solutions to current climate change challenges.
Q: What are the key messages you would like to share with youths in general?
A: Everyone can decide how they want to live: Ignoring scientific findings, only concentrating on satisfying their own interests OR acknowledging the impact of their behavior, consumption, and commitment. Every voice matters and can make a difference. Hence, prepare yourself, connect with other like-minded people to spread your ideas and opinions to get more people involved and show decision-makers what you care about.
Content and Media provided by Julius Schlumberger
Edited and Arranged by Xiandi