December 15, 2018
By: Michelle Courtright, Window into COP24 Delegate


My last day here has been met with feelings of great opportunity and optimism, as well as uncertainty and despair for what lies ahead of us as a nation and global community in the decades ahead.

Indonesia pavilion at COP24The majority of scientists, researchers, activists, and diplomats I’ve met over this trip have privately explained that the effects of climate change are going to be much more severe than have previously been reported. One institutional investor said that his funds were now planning on a 6 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures, rather than the 1.5 degrees that the COP dialogue was focused on.

Yesterday I heard the former President of the Maldives say that he will not go to COP25 because we’re arguing over the meaning of “welcome” versus “note” and trying to find consensus when we can’t even do that.

“COP’s have been working for 24 years and it’s just not time we have anymore. We must ask at citizens instead of waiting for governments to save us.”

With that dire warning in mind, we should not let despair get the best of us.

World Wildlife Fund signThere’s many things we can do immediately to fight climate change. Reduce your intake of animal products. Animal agriculture has consumes a third of all land on the planet and 27% of all freshwater consumption.

Avoid using fossil fuels and support renewable energies. Encourage your local schools and corporations to plant more trees and buy carbon offsets if you travel by air a lot.

Climate Action Hub speakersMany island nations were represented at COP and were speaking with delegates from wealthy nations like Germany to create immigration strategies that will help them escape from their homes that may not survive 2050. Severe flooding, droughts, hurricanes, and other extreme weather has the potential to wipe out entire cultures and communities.

This is the existential crisis of our time and now we need to do something about it.

A huge thank you to Climate Generation for sending me on this business delegation! I have learned so much and I’m privileged to share this experience with with my colleagues Jesse, Alexis, and Alissa. We are all ready to make immediate change in our communities once we return.