Amazing Kids! Magazine

Climate Change Conference

By Matthew Barker, California


Howdy kids! This is Matthew Barker reporting from the Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, known as COP17. COP 17 stands for the 17th Conference of the Parties, which means the 17th yearly gathering of about 200 countries. The countries send delegates, or representatives, to talk about climate change.

I had a chance to go to Durban from my home in California. I interviewed lots of people at the conference, including some from Japan, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa and the United States. I spoke to delegates, student volunteers, journalists, and even some performing artists. I wanted to know what they thought about climate change, and what kids can do to help. Here’s what I learned.

All agree global warming is a serious problem that is causing weather changes and rising sea levels. One person explained that the conference is focusing on human causes, things we have control over, Another pointed out that climate change is a big challenge, but also a big opportunity for people to work together. Delegates from Kenya and South Africa told me that people where they live are planting trees and recycling, in order to reduce global warming, but said more awareness and education are needed.

One thing everyone agreed on, was that kids have an important role to play. Here are some of their ideas for things kids can do to help, including:

  • Walk instead of driving.
  • Plant trees.
  • Learn to use less energy.
  • Ask questions. Ask why things are not being changed.
  • Encourage our friends and parents to “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

A delegate from Brazil had great advice. He said we need to see the problem and work on solutions as we get older. But the most important thing is keep our childhood spirit and our happiness alive.

I saw a good example of this.

During COP17, a group of 2000 students created an event called “ROAR.” They created a huge human lion head on the beach and let out a big “roar.” Their goal was to urge world leaders at COP17 to have the courage to create agreements that will ensure a safe future for young people all over the world. Pretty cool if you ask me!

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