Posted: Nov 18, 2012 at 11:37 PM [Nov 18, 2012]
ANN ARBOR STUDENT JOINS NOTED EARTH IN BRACKET GROUP AT CLIMATE TALKS
Effective, articulate youth leaders plan to learn, comment, engage
BAR HARBOR, ME—Katie O’Brien of Ann Arbor joins a dozen College of the Atlantic students offering insights and commentary in half a dozen languages at the upcoming meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC. The convention is being held in Doha, Qatar, from Nov. 23 through Dec. 9.
COA has sent students to the UNFCCC for the past nine years; each year the students are more informed and organized. Along with the other COA delegates, O’Brien, a 2011 graduate of the Community High School, who received top prizes for her journalism while in high school, and was named by the Detroit News as one of Michigan’s “Best & Brightest” high school graduates, will be will offer ongoing interpretations of the substance of the meetings through the student organization, Earth In Brackets, and its website, earthinbrackets.org.
At COA, Obrien is focused on fisheries, gender, and development. This is her second climate change meeting. Last year she attended as a member of the Sierra Student Coalition. She is joined by Anjali Appadurai, a senior from Vancouver, Canada, whose speech representing youth at last year’s UNFCCC was broadcast around the world. She notes, “We need real, fresh journalism—not recycled mainstream messaging—to relay the nuances of this important political process to the rest of the world.” Earth In Brackets will be reporting through several outlets, including Al Jazeera and Truthout Magazine for the duration of the conference.
The importance of this year’s meetings may be its relative quietness, say the students. O’Brien is hoping that without the pressure that has been part of the meetings since the 2009 Copenhagen convention, more will be accomplished, especially in establishing legal frameworks based on the original UNFCCC concept of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities. While all nations have a responsibility to reduce emissions that cause climate change, the wealthier, more developed nations need to take the lead, according to this concept, and also assist developing nations by providing financial and technological resources. Recent politics between developed and developing nations has caused friction at the meetings, say the students. They expect this tension to be a central issue at the upcoming negotiation.
The other members of COA’s delegations hail from Canada, Egypt, Germany, Haiti, Mexico, Northern Ireland, the Ukraine, and the United States cities of Ithaca, NY and Philadelphia, PA. The students expect to branch out to other organizations to provide their knowledgeable youth perspectives in Arabic, French, German, Spanish, and Ukrainian as well as English. Feel free to contact them.
For more information on the students’ work, or to connect with O’Brien, contact Donna Gold, firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-266-4470, or in Doha, email@example.com. To read the ongoing student blog visit www.earthinbrackets.org/blog.
College of the Atlantic is a small, experimental college on the coast of Maine founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world.