United Nations

November 2, 2005

In November 2005, the United Nations will meet to discuss the Kyoto Protocol at the 11th Conference of the Parties (CoP-11). This meeting will also be the first time that the UN has met after the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol (MoP-1).

At this landmark event, we would like the UN to recognize the concerns of Youth of the Arctic.

Declaration on Climate Change from Youth of the Arctic.

We, youth from the Circumpolar North, realize that the world is facing a threat unlike anything ever experienced before in human history. Here in the Arctic, where the impacts of climate change are happening at an accelerated rate, we feel our physical environment, our culture, and our spirituality, are being disrupted. Sea ice is melting, coastlines are exposed and degrading, and species are at risk. Communities are being forced to give up land based traditions and Traditional Knowledge is being lost. Indigenous Peoples 'ways of being' continue to be threatened.

Our ecosystems are disturbed; we are vulnerable.

The science surrounding our changing climate has now existed for the same amount of time that we have been alive. Arguing the validity of climate change science is no longer worthwhile- it is now time to act - and act with conviction.

We are supporting research on impacts, mitigation and adaptation to climate change. We are encouraging our peers and our communities to become informed and engaged. Individually, we are taking responsibility for our actions. By reducing our personal greenhouse gas emissions, engaging in activities with lower environmental impacts, and making conscious choices, we are reflecting the world we want to live in.

We are challenging fossil fuel development such as the proposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, United States, the proposed Mackenzie Pipeline Project in Northwest Territories of Canada and oil drilling in Lensky region of Russia's Sakha Republic. We see the importance in taking steps now to lay a foundation for change that will reach far into the future.

The global community has come a long way in a short time. Thank-you to the United Nations for its Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Kyoto Protocol is a step in the right direction. Thank you for the considerable work carried out by the International Panel on Climate Change. Thank you to the Arctic Council for the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and to Snowchange for their conference on Northern Indigenous and Local Community Observations of Climate and Ecological Change. These provide critical insight and raise international awareness about the situation of the North.

However, we are concerned that the work being done is not enough. We are concerned that science is not being met with awareness, and plans are not being met with action. More effort needs to be invested by individuals, communities, and governments, if the world is to reduce or reverse the impacts of climate change. We are concerned that the public at large is still unaware and uncertain of the threats of climate change. How can people be motivated to take positive action unless they understand the urgency of the situation?

The economy should no longer come before health and well being. Full cost accounting, or more socially and ecologically based accounting mechanisms should be developed and integrated. Long-term vision needs to be incorporated into climate change response plans, recognizing that political and business timelines are too short.

We would like to help you move forward with a multi-generational, multi-disciplinary vision. We will lobby for climate change to be taught in schools so that today's children are climate change literate and are armed with the tools to act. We will continue to inform the public about climate change and its effects. We will learn to adapt to climate change in a way that considers the impacts of our solutions on the seven generations ahead of us. Our generations are linked, just as the Arctic is linked to the rest of the world. Choices made in the present will exponentially affect the future.

We are willing to make a difference and we challenge you to do the same.

We call on you to help us build the economic, political, and cultural infrastructure necessary for a sustainable future.

We offer you our vision of a strong North and a positive world.

If you protect the Arctic, you protect the world.

We, youth from the Circumpolar North, would like the UN to recognize the concerns, listed herein, of Youth of the Arctic.

We call on you to help us build the economic, political, and cultural infrastructure necessary for a sustainable future.

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The Declaration on Climate Change from Youth of the Arctic petition to United Nations was written by Jessica Thiessen and is in the category Youth at GoPetition.