Found this photo of grinning-because-bewildered 20-year-old me in Lima via fellow youth delegate, Marlex Tuson. It’s almost a year to this day when we actually had to sit down and sip frozen chicha morada’s after only one meeting to wonder what the hell have we gotten ourselves into and wrap out heads over the reality that we have to declare specializations soon, if only to maintain sanity for the next two weeks. The realization that this is the only way we can be effective seemed tantamount to shedding hubris for me then. You want to save the world? You want to do good? You decide how, preferably the soonest you can, and then you get on it.
First lesson: you don’t look back and wonder about paths you didn’t take. Three million baby steps, and “tomorrow the same day, tomorrow the same day.” Sometimes you’d long for giant strides and even life-threatening leaps and the silence of your heroes versus the noise the politics of it all seemingly warrant everything pointless, but you keep at it, because there is nowhere else you’d rather be. You think of those deprived of choices, rendered twice vulnerable by oppressive socio-economic systems reinforced by ideologies that are so ingrained they seem as natural as breathing on your bad days, and you are relieved to find even the slightest stirrings of rage, and you get out of bed thinking no matter how rotten everything in your life seems, at your core, you are this desire to help.
There is now only over a week left before the Paris negotiations. Side events being cancelled left and right as a matter of precaution. There are rumors that non-negotiating sessions will cancelled, too. Civil society organizations are clamoring for more transparency. Frankly, after a year out on the field and even taking a semester off from school to do this full-time, I have no clue what will happen. All I know is, these past few weeks, I have witnessed the worst of humanity. But still, I retain faith in the best of us. No time but now.
Climate justice is a human right. Climate justice now.