MARRAKECH, Morocco — A group of 10 College of the Atlantic students and their professor are attending the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which has convened here and will continue through Nov. 18.
The student delegates, who will take an active role in working-group discussions, are members of the COA tutorial Implementing the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC COP22), taught by Doreen Stabinsky. COA delegates, many of whom have taken part in the annual conferences before, have the opportunity to network with members of international, nongovernmental organizations and to help organize and take part in actions within the conference space along with other youth participants.
Many COA delegation members say they are driven both by a desire to work toward ensuring more just and equitable approaches to economic and social development and by a sense of responsibility to future generations.
“I’m going to COP22 because it is my duty as a young person to not only be active at the grassroots level of climate change activism, but to also be active on the policy level, where binding and concrete decisions are being made about the collective future,” said Jenna Farineau ’18.
The U.N.’s 22nd Conference of the Parties marks the first gathering of the 191 countries that signed on to last year’s Paris climate agreement. Decisions made in Marrakech will guide the implementation and enforcement of the accord. Proper implementation is key to a sustainable future, COA delegates said.
“It’s really scary that in 20 years, our lives might be completely different. But an even scarier thought is that we here in the U.S. and other developed countries will be living the same, without any adaption to reduce emissions of fossil fuels,” said Rachael Goldberg ’19.
Hana Bracale was raised in Bar Harbor, and after a roundabout educational journey including studies at UWC Atlantic College in Wales and two years at Wellesley College in Boston, she made her way to College of the Atlantic and the delegation. Bracale’s studies have focused on issues of food and agriculture, and refugee and migration studies. In addition to her studies, she has engaged with civil society organizations in working towards a more just food system, especially as it pertains to populations most vulnerable to environmental degradation. The conference will be her first negotiation. She hopes to follow issues around agriculture both as a tool for mitigation and as an important consideration in development and adaptation.
Implementing the Paris Agreement is an advanced tutorial focusing on the process of treaty implementation, specifically examining the processes underway to bring the Paris Agreement into force. Students work with Stabinsky to choose one or more elements of the Paris Agreement on which they develop significant expertise.
College of the Atlantic was the first college in the U.S. to focus on the relationship between humans and the environment. In 2016, both The Sierra Club and The Princeton Review named College of the Atlantic the No. 1 Green College in the United States. The college offers a bachelor’s degree in human ecology – the study of how humans interact with our natural, social and technological environments. Each student develops an individual course of study in human ecology, working across multiple disciplines, collaborating and creating innovative solutions.