Waterloo delegates pose in Poland with a "University of Waterloo Coalition for Sustainable Development" banner.

Environment students travel to Poland for international climate change conference

 Guest blog by Yale Wang  

This weekend, a team of nearly 20 Environment undergraduate and master’s students returned from the 19th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland. The team, formed in September, took just two months to fully prepare for their visit to Warsaw where they would join politicians, non-governmental organizations and official representatives from over 134 nations to discuss the fate of our climate system.

Waterloo delegates pose with Elizabeth May.

Getting started wasn’t an easy task, but in the first few weeks, the Dean of Environment announced that he would provide partial funding for the students. The University of Waterloo Coalition for Sustainable Development (UWSCD) was responsible for coordinating the team and they holding numerous events to help fundraise for the team’s travel expenses. To keep in touch with their supporters and present their message to the world, the group also decided to make regular postings on their Facebook page from the conference and check in regularly with uWaterloo via Skype.

During the session of the Conference of the Parties (COP19), the team of University of Waterloo students identified roadblocks that often occur during global policy conferences on environmental issues. Andrew Wong, a fourth-year Geography student and the founder of the Waterloo delegation, was selected by YOUNGO, a youth non-governmental organization to speak in front of the delegates.

“We, the youth of the world, believe that your generation holds the world’s atmosphere on trust for our generation,” he said. “We in turn hold it on trust for future generations. You do not own it, but you have the responsibility to protect it. We must preserve our climate’s fundamental integrity so that we do not violate the fundamental rights of your children and your children’s children.”

You can read about the students on the Environment website, student blogs about the conference can be found on the University of Waterloo Coalition for Sustainable Development website and you can stay updated on UWCSD’s journey to next year’s COP20 on Facebook.

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