Three NYU Abu Dhabi students who are passionate about the environment have returned from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Bonn, Germany with a renewed commitment to sustainability education among their peers at NYUAD.
As youth observers, Norbert Monti, Louis Plottel, and Julia Saubier voiced their youth perspectives in front of UN officials, government representatives, and industry professionals from around the world. Plottel spoke about training and empowering strategic groups for mobilizing climate action, while Saubier spoke about developing educational materials and communication technologies for promoting climate change education.
“I am only a small drop within the vast ocean of climate activists, but it's our collective voice, both inside and outside of the convention, that will create change,” said Plottel, who, prior to NYUAD, rode his bicycle across Canada to talk to youth about environmental projects in their regions.
Also the former president of NYUAD's Ecoherence Student Interest Group, Plottel added, "We all came together at the conference with exciting energy to represent young people of the world and push governments to take action on climate change."
“Coming from a country at significant risk due to climate change, it was important for me to actively engage in the emerging discourse that climate change is a human rights issue," said Saubier, who comes from the Philippines, a country she describes as particularly vulnerable, though a mild climate change contributor. She co-organized a 19-day, 6,600-kilometer motorcycle ride across the Philippines to work with off-the-grid villages and indigenous populations impacted by extreme weather events, an event that helped to strengthen her conviction on the importance of climate change education.
Understanding UN climate negotiation mechanisms was a priority, said the NYUAD group.
"It's important for students to attend these kinds of conferences to better understand complex issues and be able to return home to educate the rest of the community," said Plottel, who along with Saubier and Monti plan to continue their ongoing efforts at NYUAD to raise awareness about the effects of climate change and get other students involved in the cause.
It's a complex issue, Monti added, "and we need to bring it to the heart of public debate" in a way that's accessible and understandable.
Monti, Plottel and Saubier hope to lead an NYUAD delegation to Paris later this year for the Conference of the Parties 21.