Members of Earth in Brackets — the student-run environmental group at College of the Atlantic — prepare to depart for Peru for a United Nations climate summit Dec. 1-12, 2014.A delegation from the student group Earth in Brackets will attend the latest round of major climate talks — the COP20 UN climate negotiations — Dec. 1-12 in Lima, Peru, as well as youth gatherings prior to the conference and the People’s Summit — Cumbre de los Pueblos — a meeting space for civil society organizations.

Attending will be Augustin Martz ’17, of Winterthur, Switzerland; Adrian Fernandez Jauregui, ’15, a Davis United World College Scholar, of Samaipata, Bolivia; Maria Alejandra Escalante ’16, a Davis United World College Scholar, of Bogota, Colombia; Rachel Wells ’15, of Warrenton, Va.; Michelle Pazmino ’17, of Quito, Ecuador; Julian Velez ’15, of Tepoztlan Morelos, Mexico; Sergio Cahueque ’17, of Guatemala City, Guatemala; Angela Valenzuela ’17, a Davis United World College Scholar, of Victoria, Chile; Aneesa Khan ’17, a Davis United World College Scholar, of Muscat, Oman; Maytik Avirama ’15 a Davis United World College Scholar, of Bogota, Colombia; Klever Descarpontriez ’16, a Davis United World College Scholar, of Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Omer Shamir, a Davis United World College Scholar, of Tel Aviv, Israel; and Sara Velander ’17, of Chesapeake Beach, Md. COA alumni attending include Nathan Thanki ’14, of Belfast, Northern Ireland; Juan Soriano ’11 of Washington, D.C.; and Juan Pablo Hoffmaister ’07, of San José, Costa Rica.

COP stands for “Conference of the Parties,” an annual international meeting of the member nations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, where most of the decisions regarding climate change negotiators are taken. The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties is December 2015, in Paris, France. Professor of Global Environmental Politics Dr. Doreen Stabinsky will lead the trip.

“Both Lima and Paris are crucial meetings, as the UNFCCC is trying to come up with a new global agreement on climate change that will most probably decide the level of commitments to mitigate carbon emissions,” said Escalante. “The new agreement is supposed to be agreed in Paris, so Lima and the year following will be the time to debate all the fundamental pieces of the agreement. This new agreement is full of nuances and crucial political demands coming from developing countries.”

“To be known and recognized as global leaders in the youth movement is quite impressive,” Stabinsky said. “It’s quite a unique organization. I can’t say enough about what they do.”

A history of climate change and the UN

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1992 and entered into force in 1994 with the objective of stabilizing greenhouse gases emissions to prevent the dangerous impacts of climate change on ecosystems, food production, and sustainable development.

The Lima talks are only the latest international climate forum for Earth in Brackets. Started by a group of COA students preparing to attend UN Climate Negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2006, the group has grown into an internationally recognized voice on issues of climate adaptation, food sovereignty, and sustainable development.

Also known by its symbol, [Earth], the group has attended numerous global conferences on the environment, world food security and sustainable development, including meetings pertaining to the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.

Preparing for Peru

Students in Earth in Brackets meticulously prepare for international environmental policy meetings through course work and tutorials. For example, a delegation of 12 students prepared for a previous COP in Doha, Qatar, by taking Stabinsky’s “Practicum in Environmental Diplomacy.” Many took an advanced tutorial in international environmental law with COA Professor Ken Cline, the David Rockefeller Family Chair in Ecosystem Management and Protection.

Participants in the Lima climate talks will be blogging in English and Spanish via the Earth in Brackets website, its Facebook page, Twitter and by joining its Google group. For more about Earth in Brackets, watch this video by Devin Altobello ’13, who followed the team in Durban, South Africa, in 2011.

“Some people are surprised undergraduate students are attending UN forums,” college President Dr. Darron Collins ’92 said. “COA students aren’t just attending them, they’re taking active roles in leading them. COA students lead by doing, whether the scope is local or global. ”


College of the Atlantic was 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. For more, visit http://www.coa.edu.


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