Within my work with CAN TZ, I was given the incredible chance to join our team going to COP 24 in Katowice Poland. Despite being very excited I was eager to see how such big conferences really works and if it was somewhat close to the images I had in my mind.
Well, it is not close. I imagined people sitting together in a huge plenary, then working in small productive groups before coming together again and negotiating about what to include in the rulebook and what not.
In reality, the COP 24 was more like a high political conference happening align with a huge get together of NGOs and a trade fair on the side where countries could promote their current innovations and efforts towards a better world.
The grounds were nearly all temporary build ups with such great distances between each building that you had to nearly run through the white tunnels connecting them to reach the room of your next meeting or event in time. Speaking of events during the COP 24, there were so many side events apart from the official negotiations going on that it seems like these were the main events, at least for everyone with an observer badge. And so, this is what I mostly did. I attended several side events each day, some were organized by partners of CAN and sometimes even our director Sixbert was on the podium.
Being not a professional in any work field related to climate change but just a young adult overly interested in climate and environmental related topics, these events at the COP 24 were just right. I was able to gain so much more knowledge and different approaches to pressing issues to broaden my horizon. While this, there was always the chance to connect and exchange with people working in the field, of course on one hand in the interest of CAN TZ but on the other hand also for my personal development. Talking to different people having jobs in the field I consider joining after my university studies, getting their advice is incredibly valuable.
Even though I might have not taken part in any high-level segments apart from podium discussions with high-level participants on topics like human rights within climate change, I still gained so much from this week at the COP 24 in Poland. Seeing the down parts of such events makes me realize how important it is to keep on track, to not let any obstacles bring you or the change you are fighting for down. The big world community might keep their eyes shut on how little time (12 years!) is left to actually change for good and save our planet. But there are always ways in which each individual can contribute to change, in their private life but more importantly on a political level with engaging in great organizations and initiatives fighting for a world where even the generation of my grandchildren can live and see the beauty our planet has to offer.