LWVGO COP28 OBSERVER REFLECTIONS
It was truly an honor to attend the United Nations Conference of the Parties as an LWV Observer. Through a robust program of events, meetings, panels, and interactive opportunities, participants were able to observe and learn more about what all levels of society can do to address and reduce our impact on climate change all around the world. The unification of climate change advocates, industry professionals, and world leaders at this event keeps the well-being of our planet Earth at the forefront of global issues. Civil attendance and active advocacy holds all parties accountable not only for their personal actions, but also to establish more inclusive and thought-out collective action across communities and countries.
Hearing from participants from all different parts of the world allowed me to gain a deeper perspective of what climate change looks like beyond my lived experience. I learned a great deal about what roles civil societies play in taking action in a greener future. The conversations I observed with young change makers and leaders is what keeps me hopeful as I reflect on what it felt like to be an observer. Researchers, leaders, students and environmentalists discussed a multitude of topics regarding climate change including agriculture, architecture, alternative energy sources, faith, youth involvement, and finance – all addressing the disproportionate effects of climate change on poorer regions. I deeply respected the transparency of criticisms voiced when factoring in the reality of global innovations, financial expectations, human rights intersectionality, and so much more. I am still in awe of how flawlessly I was able to collect so much vital and insider information on a multitude of sectors in the short amount of time through the great organization of the events.
The United Nations COP28 conference was the largest and most diverse conference and activism event that I have ever participated in and I am honored to have gained such a cultured and well-rounded immersion into the topic of climate change so that I can become a better human rights and climate change advocate. My goal is to continue learning more on the subject and to get more involved in local and global initiatives to do my part in creating a greener future for the generations to come. One of the most important aspects of being an observer to during my experience is feeling that my presence there, and in all spaces, created room for myself and those that I advocate on behalf of, to be considered and respected in conversations that we may or may not have a direct say in – those of which results often disproportionately impact the most marginalized.
The conversations of how close and soon we can reach the goal of zero carbon emissions is one that is highly dependent on the spreading of education to all communities; vocalizing why it is so important to be an educated and engaged citizen, speaking to our community leaders, and even using our voices through voting to hold elected officials and leaders accountable to doing what is in the best interest of all human rights and planet Earth. I look forward to using the knowledge I learned from attending COP28 to help create more local and global change in whatever capacities I can.
Candide V. Santiago