BAR HARBOR, ME—A dozen College of the Atlantic students will be offering insights and commentary in half a dozen languages to an array of nations when they head to the meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, from Nov. 23 through Dec. 9. COA has sent students to the meetings for the past nine years; at each session the students are more informed and organized. While at the current meetings in Doha, Qatar, the students will offer ongoing interpretations of the substance of the meetings on their website through their own organization, Earth In Brackets, and its website, earthinbrackets.org.
COA’s participants have studied the policy, politics and science of climate change for years. Among them is Anjali Appadurai, a senior from Vancouver, Canada, who’s Youth Speech at last year’s convention was broadcast around the world. “The nature of the messages that are going out affects everything—including what the average person—and therefore society at large—understands of the process,” says Appadurai. “We need real, fresh journalism—not just recycled mainstream messaging—to relay the nuances of this important political process to the rest of the world,” she says. “Another world is possible,” she firmly believes. Earth in Brackets will be reporting through outlets including Al Jazeera and Truthout Magazine for the duration of the conference.
The students have been in two focused classes, one on environmental diplomacy taught by Doreen Stabinsky, COA faculty member in international relations, who will accompany the delegation, and international environmental law with Ken Cline, faculty member in environmental law and policy.
The meetings continue the learning process. Says Nathan Thanki, a third-year student from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who will be attending his sixth UN negotiation, “You never stop learning how this process works, whether the discussions are focused on reducing emissions or how people are adapting to climate change already.”
The importance of this year’s meetings may be its relative quietness say the students. They are hoping that without the pressure that was apparent at the Copenhagen meetings in 2009 and subsequent years, more will be accomplished in terms of establishing legal frameworks based on the concept of nations’ Common but Differentiated Responsibilities. This means that while all nations have a responsibility to reduce emissions that cause climate change, the wealthier, more developed nations need to take the lead while assisting the developing nations through provision of financial and technological resources.
COA delegates hail from Canada, Egypt, Germany, Haiti, Mexico, Northern Ireland, the Ukraine, and from the United States cities of Ann Arbor, MI, Ithaca, NY, and Philadelphia, PA. They are expecting to offer insights and interviews in Arabic, French, German, Spanish, and Ukrainian as well as English.
For more on the students’ work, contact Donna Gold in the US: firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-266-4470; or in Doha, email@example.com. The student blog is at www.earthinbrackets.org/blog.
College of the Atlantic is a small, innovative college on the coast of Maine founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world.