Students from the College of the Environment livedÂ a dream in Parisâ€”they took part in a global conversation about how to combat climate change alongside leaders and decision-makers, shared their perspectives as youth representing the Pacific Northwest, and expanded their understanding of the planetâ€™s interconnected landscapes through forged connections.
Now back in Seattle after attending the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), part of the Paris climate talks, theÂ group of University of Washington students is united in their call for greater youth perspective in discussions about the future of our planet.
â€ś2015 was a huge year for international climate legislation. It was important for youth to be there and for our voice to be heard,â€ť senior Salina Abraham said. â€śTo be present wasÂ powerful.â€ť
GLF attendees, 3,200 people from 135 countries, were committed to looking at the complexities of climate change and its impacts on landscapes together.Â Abraham, along with Natalie Gray and Rachel Yonemura from the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and Lars Olson from the Department of Biology were able to attend through their involvement in UWâ€™s chapter of the International Forestry Studentsâ€™ Association (IFSA).
The students learned from leaders in forestry, agriculture, water, energy, law, and finance who addressedÂ everything from resilient landscapes to green growth compacts and watchedÂ as innovative products and initiatives aimed at tackling real-world issues were launched, all while sitting at the center of a global conversation. Representing four of 50 IFSA members chosen to attend the GLF, the UW students also networked with their peersâ€”now friends and likely future collaboratorsâ€”from Belgium, the Philippines, and beyond.
â€śThe youth are everything. They have the energy, mindset, and flexibility to implement big ideas,â€ť Gray said. â€śEnabling young people to live up to their full potential is one of the things we think is most necessary moving forward.â€ť
Read the full article on The University of Washington’s College of the Environment website.