Stephanie Hubli, Student, Environmental Engineering
The optimism I gained from this conference greatly outweighs my initial skepticism about the daunting nature of the global fight against climate change. The change in my overall outlook stems not from the success of this year’s formal proceedings at the COP, but rather from what I observed about the promising leadership and camaraderie amongst the millennial generation worldwide.
My enthusiasm is rooted in my own COP22 experiences and interactions, which have reassured me about the connectivity of educated youth on a global scale. On Monday evening, while waiting for the bus from the Green Zone back to our hotel, our group had the pleasure of meeting a college-educated, twenty-something Reuters reporter from Cairo, Egypt. Naturally, we discussed international concerns about the recent U.S. election of Donald Trump, a known climate change skeptic. The reporter did not laugh at us but instead empathized with us. Later in the week, we had the honor of meeting with faculty, students, and graduates from Moroccan and other American colleges at a COP22 higher education networking event held at the University of Cadi Ayyad. Every individual I engaged in conversation with was intelligent, action-oriented, and determined to be a voice of change. I was especially struck by the similarity of concerns, ideas and aspirations of the many Moroccan students we met.
Some would say that the competitive nature of globalization, such as international trade agreements, have led to a more divided and selfish world. However, in the case of international youth, I dare to disagree. My experiences at COP22 and the people I have met in Marrakech have given me hope for the future.
I know that it will be a long process, but we can do anything when we stand together. We are united on the need for climate action. We are empathetic to the plight of those who have been or will be displaced by the effects of climate change, such as flooding and drought. We are strong in preparing for a more resilient world, and protecting those, often in developing nations, who are most at risk from climate change. We are determined to succeed. We are one.