It wasn’t easy finding my beloved 10 interviewees in COP21 that I managed to connect with.
Although interviewing youths in COP21 is a MYD task, I enjoyed it a lot because it is always full of surprises on who will say yes to your interview request; who actually said yes AND turn up for interview; and most importantly- the amazing stories behind all these young people. Totally worth the wait!
To the 10 of you out there, you all might never realised this, but I was truly inspired and I have learnt many things from your sharings. Thus, I have decided to write this article as a tribute to you all for spending your time and sharing your stories with us!
You have inspired me, by the very fact that you are physically here representing the youth from your country, and fighting hard for this cause! It is especially touching when you all shared your emotions with me on your ups and downs from pre-COP preparation till how you get to be here.
Many of you mentioned that youth voice wasn’t really heard in COP and not even in national level, youths have very limited interactions with their national delegations. It was much to my surprise that even in developed countries which I always looked upon are not performing well in youth engagement from the government side. This made me realised we are all on the same page and that we should help each other on this.
While reading through all your responses, I learnt that everyone have a role to play in COP21, everyone have their own definition of their “biggest achievement” in COP21. Some might sounds like a simple achievement like meeting people in COP21 but it may be something really big to that person him or herself! Same goes to me- I thought I am being non-achieving when seeing everyone else in my team achieving something that looks big to me. I was lost in the negotiations; I am not really an action-person; this left me wondering what can I actually do here?
But when I listened to your stories especially on side events that you all attended; I then realised we should always focused on the things that we can do, instead of the things that we cannot. And by that, I have actually achieved something big without me knowing it! It might not be some physical achievement, but deep in my heart, I knew I have learnt and grew- and I view this as a valuable achievement which cannot be measured by KPIs.
It also came to my realisation that having access to the blue zone enhanced your accessibility to both information and important people like negotiators; but it doesn’t mean that people without badges have less influence or less ability to contribute. Your responses reminded me of how youth nowadays are connected- using the technology and social medias in sharing information; and that is what make us united; and make us to be able to contribute equally despite of the accessibility to the venue. People outside can still connect with people inside to get first hand updates; people inside may also get help from people outside to connect with the movement out there. You taught me that it is always the collective effort that counts, and that’s what we always call for- solidarity.
Nevertheless, I really appreciate your time in answering my questions despite of your hectic schedules (some of you are even travelling while responding!). And thanks for being a source of inspiration in my COP21 journey! xoxo
Fun fact: I have no idea why most of my interviewees are female. I guess like attracts like. Even our interest are pretty similar too- gender equity! Stay awesome, peeps 🙂
Written by: Emily Oi