17 COA students will attend international climate talks in Paris, after preparing and studying the issue in class during the fall term.17 COA students will attend international climate talks in Paris, after preparing and studying the issue in class during the fall term. Credit: Morgan Heckerd

[Earth] is a student climate and social justice collective that have been taking part in United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) international climate talks since 2006 in Nairobi. They attend UN conferences on climate, food, biodiversity, and sustainable development where they work with students and other conference participants to keep ideas of social justice and equity on the front burner. The students also engage in grassroots activism concerning topics such as climate, food, and energy policies. They try to engage with people through various methods such as blogs, infographics, podcasts, videos and music.

This year, 17 students, led by Professor Doreen Stabinsky, will be attending the Conference of the Youth (COY), starting on Nov. 26, before joining the 21st COP, which runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

Joining negotiations, spreading knowledge

A total of eight COA students will be able to enter the negotiation spaces, using accreditations acquired with the help of COA and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. The other students will be engaging in outside spaces with civil society and other stakeholders.

The entire [Earth] delegation will be giving three presentations in Paris. Two will be held as part of the COY, and one as part of the COP. The presentations are entitled: “Fixing the Climate: False and Real Solutions;” “Climate Justice: The Story, The Connections, and The Need for Collective Praxis;” and “The Road to Paris : The UNFCCC up to Now and Our Need for a Just Deal.”

Climate politics as an integral part of classwork

The [Earth] delegation has been planning for this winter’s trip all fall as part of the class ”Practicing Climate Politics.” Stabinsky, who has been in Europe throughout most of the term, meets with the class once a week via Skype.  The delegation, though, has been meeting at least three or four times a week to make sure they are well prepared for their trip. Most of the extra meeting times are self-directed, as the students are the ones providing resources, giving presentations and facilitating.

Paris attacks do not deter group

Following the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris in mid-November, the delegation met to discuss whether they should alter their travel plans. The group decided to press on. Each delegate was given the choice of attending or not, and each delegate made the choice to continue on with their plans to travel to Paris. The group is meeting with COA officials to implement enhanced safety and communications protocols in light of the attacks.

Learn more about the students who will be attending COP and follow their updates on their official delegate page.