An Evening with the Stars…
June 22, 2012
On June 21st members of the Students on Ice Alumni Delegation attended the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the three Rio Conventions and met with high profile dignitaries including Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent.
The events began with a series of panel statements.
“After all, the world has changed significantly since 1992. It is clear that UNFCCC must be a dynamic agreement that successfully adapts to changing global realties” said Kent during his remarks.
In the reception that followed, which included some delicious cake for the delegation to munch on, members of the delegation chatted with Kent about their stance on the Polar Regions in the context of global sustainability. Kent expressed his strong approval of the delegation’s policy recommendation to protect polar oceans. As Kent’s Chief of Staff ushered him out of the event to his waiting car, the delegation was left with many questions to ask about national Canadian environmental concerns.
The event also featured the presence of United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, and Hollywood film star, Edward Norton. Although one might best remember Norton for his intense battles with Brad Pitt in the 1990’s film “Fight Club”, Norton had some poignant comments on our contemporary efforts to develop sustainably.
“Now it moves into the really critical phase, hopefully in the next 20 years…really implementing the ideas.” said Norton in reference to the recommendations presented during the Rio Conventions.
As the delegation was leaving the Anniversary Celebrations they were able to catch-up with Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). During her statement that evening, Figueres discussed the importance of making sustainable development the norm. She summarized by saying, “Green is sexy!”. In the social that followed she urged the Students on Ice Alumni Delegation to “Keep kicking and pushing”.
Figueres is no stranger to the Polar Regions as she told the delegation of her recent journey to Antarctica and recounted her shock when she plunged into the cold Southern Ocean.
This kindly composed ‘evening with the stars’ is juxtaposed in the minds of the delegation against the more aggressive approach to generating dialogue as seen during the youth led action that morning. After the event, as members of the delegation walked in the rain to the shuttles that transport many delegates to their hotels, the Students on Ice Alumni Delegation was left wondering if they had made some small impact. They left wondering whether their polite conversations with these high profile figures had planted any seeds; seeds that derive from the goal to relate the urgent recommendations of the Students on Ice Alumni Delegation Policy Platform. It is their hope that perhaps the next time Christiana Figueres hears of the Polar Regions that she may recall the passion of the youth she met in Rio as alumni of the Students on Ice Expeditions. In this way, through positive interaction, the delegation is able to raise the awareness they want.