Remy Franklin, a master's student in the University of Arizona's School of Geography and Development, was among a delegation of 13 young climate justice leaders to travel to Morocco to participate in this month's United Nations Climate Change Conference.
The conference, called COP22 and held in Marrakech, was organized for this year's round of United Nations negotiations on climate change. The talks came one year after a historic agreement was reached in Paris at COP21, and many questions remained about how the goals laid out in Paris would be reached.
"Joining SustainUS at COP22 was an incredible opportunity to act on climate change through a combination of policy tracking, research and creative protest," said Franklin, whose travel was partly funded by a grant from the Agnes Nelms Haury Program in Environmental and Social Justice, housed at the UA Institute of the Environment. "SustainUS brings together a team of young leaders with diverse skill sets to advance justice and sustainability by acting on climate through multiple avenues."
Franklin will give a presentation on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. in Room S230 of the ENR2 building to discuss his experience abroad and his hopes for a sustainable future.
During the conference, Franklin and other delegates with SustainUS, a national youth-led organization that works to advance justice and sustainability, organized events and shared via social media the effects climate change will have on youth, indigenous peoples and those on the frontlines of fossil-fuel extraction.
"I gained valuable on-the-ground perspective about the COP," Franklin said. "It's more than the formal negotiations. It's a gathering space for climate justice activists from all over the world, and a chance for social movements and NGOs to build connections."
Franklin, who studies the opportunities and barriers for solar energy, ultimately hopes to influence global leaders on ways to re-evaluate current climate initiatives.
In Tucson, he works with the UA Public Political Ecology Lab, most recently developing the lab's website for a new initiative called the Climate Alliance Mapping Project. Through the project and his own research, Franklin grapples with complex questions about energy, climate and society, while working to promote socially just responses to climate change and a just transition to renewable energy.
Franklin also said that he appreciated being involved with COP22 to advance efforts toward actions on climate change.
"Today's youth are the first generation to widely face the consequences of climate change," Franklin said. "We recognize that climate change is a social justice issue. The impacts will hurt vulnerable people most, and we have an obligation to amplify their stories. The climate movement has an unprecedented opportunity to display its political will. Now more than ever, our collective voices are needed."
Story written by Lilly Berkeley, University Communications
Original story here.