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IBVM Youth: Conversations on Climate Change

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Climate change isn’t something in the future. That narrative is fundamentally flawed because there are millions impacted and so many displaced already. That is the new inconvenient truth that no one wants to hear.

Much like Aneesa, activists from around the globe are rallying together to draw the attention of the world and its leaders to the biggest and most urgent crisis of the 21st Century: climate change. Recently, the nations of the world came together in Glasgow, to be a part of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is more famously known as COP26.

In the lead-up to COP26, while thousands marched in Glasgow to push for better and more effective action plans, we IBVM, to do our bit in countering climate inaction and we hosted Youth-Led Conversations on Climate Justice on the 25th of October, 2021. Carlota Gayo from Spain, Ailish Gaughan and Ellie Johnson from the UK, and Riya Bhargava from the New York Office of IBVM worked together to survey and address aspects of climate change that most concerned the young people.

Carlota talked about expectations and the relevance of government actions in the current climate scenario, while Riya used her time to explore how businesses can do better in terms of climate policy and why prioritize climate action over short-term profits. The availability of clean water resources, another one of the primary concerns highlighted through the survey, was addressed by Ailish in the context of SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation for all. Lastly, Ellie explored the intersection of personal action and climate action.

The group, supported by Sr. Cecilia O’Dwyer and Sr. Kathyrn Keigher, also hosted Mike Kane, an MP from the UK, and Beth Blissman, Representative to the UN for the Loretto Community. Mike led an extensive discussion on the question “What could be the Catholics’ contribution to Climate Action as we move towards COP26?”, while Beth reflected on her experiences from the past to answer “Why Climate Change is a Women’s Issue?”.

Finally, Carlota led everyone through the actions and initiatives undertaken by young people around the globe, and how these actions were shaping the narrative around climate change.

Author: Riya Bhargava (Youth Representative Intern)