My name is Erica Nickels, and I am a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation to the next round of United Nations climate change negotiations happening right now in Cancun, Mexico. When I graduated from high school, I received a generous scholarship from the Kitchener-Waterloo branch of the CFUW that supported my studies in International Development and Environmental Studies at the University of Ottawa. The CFUW has provided me with a bursary to support my work at the United Nations, and in return, I will be providing you with regular updates and insights into my experience as a young women participating in the negotiations.
While many delegates to the U.N. climate change negotiations were still packing their bags and preparing for their departure, young people from around the world had already arrived in Cancun, participating in the 6th Conference of the Youth (COY6) at el Universidad del Caribe. COY provided an amazing opportunity for youth from diverse across the globe to come together to discuss solutions to climate change, and develop strategies to work together, both at this year’s COP and beyond.
By Saturday afternoon, I was suffering from information overload. When I saw that one of the workshops would be facilitated in the University’s ecological garden, I jumped at the opportunity to get outside, and hopefully get my hands dirty. I imagined myself wandering through the garden and taking a moment to appreciate the incredible beauty of my natural surroundings. What I discovered instead was an amazingly inspiring story of a community of people who are leading by example and tackling climate change head on.