Hello!  The past two days have been amazing.  I’ve spent a day wandering around Poznan and then the entire day today with Greenpeace’s International Solar Generation Youth Delegates here at the Climate Conference in a sharing of visions and campaigns.  I’ve been on at least 10 different buses and trains in the past 2 days, experiencing the local life and meeting different people of interest like reporters covering the Conference.  The biggest and most exciting highlight, however, was today’s visit with Solar Generation and planning the Global Day of Action (one more day and then 5,000-7,000 people will make a splash in Poznan!).

Solar Generation initiated in 2003 as an international umbrella for Greenpeace youth activists and its coordination is based out of GPI (Greenpeace International) in Amsterdam.  It now has a presence in China, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, the Phillippines, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Turkey.  The thousands of youth involved in each country take action in a variety of different ways, such as installing solar panel systems, lobbying officials for green jobs, pressuring campuses and communities to switch to renewable, and of course lots of direct actions and grassroots tactics to influence decision makers to do the right thing.

Solar Generation has 12 youth delegates here at the UN COP 14 (the 14th UN Conference of Parties) and we spent the day exchanging ideas and visions with them! Greenpeace International found these 12 youth delegates and requested their presence at this conference based on the importance of their country in the political landscape and how critical it was for them to have a presence here.  They are from France, China, Fiji, Poland, Switzerland and Germany and such amazing individuals! They have all met with their Greenpeace country delegates and spend their time in the conference with their “running shoes” on, chasing down their country delegates asking them tough questions and pressuring them, often making it into the news as powerful and refreshing voices of youth.

The Conference is comprised of three main groups: NGOs (non-governmental organizations), the Ministers, and the country party delegates.  There are 70 Greenpeace delegates inside the conference, 500 youth delegates from hundreds of organizations and countries, and at least 8,000 people total here so far.  This first week of the conference has mostly NGOs and country party delegates; the Ministers arrive early next week when things escalate a bit.  There will be a total of 11,000 people descending upon Poland during the UN Conference, a bit shy compared to last year’s 15,000 in Bali, Indonesia for the 2007 Conference (is it worth all the carbon emissions of flying 15,000 people to such a remote place to simply talk about talking about agreeing to agree?  I think so, but an interesting consideration.) Four countries have Greenpeace country delegations here: France, Belgium, India and a small EU country unknown right now.  Countries without Greenpeace delegations (most) have delegates and Ministers that are being heavily lobbied and influenced by Greenpeace youth activists and the climate field team here.  The big issues here are Energy and Forests.  However, no one of importance is actually negotiating here, they’re just talking about what to negotiate on. Yep, that’s right.

When Ministers, country delegates and NGOs agree, they are actually just agreeing to agree, setting things up for the final meeting in Copenhagen next year.  That is the most unfortunate part about this conference: people are already saying that nothing will happen during this conference.  But at least, as Abigail (Int’l Coordinator for Solar Generation) says, though the conference in Poznan is not going to come up with any conclusive solutions, it’s a stepping stone to climate change.  It’s not in vain.  We know what we want and we need to craft a negotiating text by next year to do it.  She recognizes that both the UNFCC and Kyoto have loop holes but if we decide Kyoto doesn’t work, we’ll have to back track 10 years. Is that what we want?  We must stick with these existing frameworks and move forward on solutions.  We need to declare what we want and what we need to avoid as countries.  And youth, hundreds of them, trained, empowered, and full of energy and with a vision of solidarity and a post-carbon economy in mind, are here to shake things up and speak truth to their leaders, to their communities back home, and the greater global community.

December 6th: watch the news wires!  5,000-7,000 people will take part in Poznan’s Global Day of Action alone!  In cities around the globe thousands of others will take action in solidarity with the Climate Conference.  Take Action!

For more info about any of this: http://www.solargeneration.org or http://www.globalclimatecampaign.org

I am so blessed to be here! What an incredible experience.  If only I could speak more than 3 words of Polski.