(picture: IFSA UBC)
by Stephanie Lee
“There is no ‘Plan B’ because we do not have a ‘Planet B.’ We have to work and galvanize our action” (UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon)
Our LC at the University of British Columbia (Canada) aspires to take steps in this direction by organizing platforms to engage students and the wider public through discussions on the pressing issue of climate change, the science behind it, and key events such as the United Nations Conference of the Parties. One such platform is our annual event – “Prepping for Paris, COP21”, which was initiated for the first time in 2015. This year “Prepping for Marrakech, COP 22” took place on October 26th, on UBC campus, with around 200 visitors.
The event started with a pre-screening of the national geographic documentary “Before the Flood”. The documentary showcased the nuances of climate change, such as vulnerability to climate change, the evidence supporting the issue and the arguments raised by those that deny the existence of this global phenomenon – through the lens of the protagonist Leonardo Di Caprio, who was designated as the United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2014.
After the movie, a group of experts from the areas of forestry, economics, health sciences and youth engagement, talked about climate change in a series of presentations. The panel members included: Werner Kurz (Senior research scientist of the Pacific Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada), Harry Nelson (Assistant Professor from UBC Faculty of Forestry), Michael Brauer (Professor from UBC School of Population and Public Health) and May Anne Then (Former President of IFSA World 2014-16).
The individual presentations where followed by a panel discussion that was moderated by IFSA LC executive member Meike Siegner. The panelists discussed a range of questions raised by students in the audience, for example, if we should keep emphasizing sustainable forest management or engage in more radical approaches to forest conservation as effective means to tackle climate change. Each of the panelists highlighted immediate opportunities to address the complex issue of climate change from their respective area of expertise. Development funds for those adversely affected by climate change, as well as technology transfer from Western countries to the global South where among such immediate priorities. The panelists further agreed on the importance of creating spaces for sharing and learning about climate change and emphasized the important role of youth organizations like IFSA to achieve such attempts.
The presentations and panel discussion were video recorded. A complete coverage of the event is available on Youtube under the following link:
For comments or questions please contact the author: stephanielee86(a)gmail.com