This is a guest blog by Allison Gacad, an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia, and an alumnus of Environmental Defence’s Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) program. She recently covered the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany.

I can’t believe that today (November 15) was my last day at COP23. What a week it’s been!

Speaking on a UNESCO panel on climate education at COP23
Speaking on a UNESCO panel on climate education at COP23, moderated by the CEO of the Foundation for Environmental Education, Daniel Schaffer.

I started off the day by being part of a panel hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the topic of climate education. I spoke about my personal challenges in engaging other youth through my extracurricular activities and workshops. Also, I highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary education and the need to integrate climate education in early schooling.

Afterwards, I attended a high level event featuring Princess Lalla Hasnaa of Morocco, which included plenty of figureheads and media. It was funny to see the chaos surrounding a famous person in the room. Journalists would rush over with their equipment any time the Princess was ready for a photo-op.

This is a high-level event on Education featuring Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco and the UNFCCC Secretary General alongside various Ministers of the Environment across the world.
This is a high-level event on Education featuring Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco and the UNFCCC Secretary General alongside various Ministers of the Environment across the world.

In the afternoon, I attended a small panel discussing integrated approaches to implementing the Paris Agreement, which took place in the WWF pavilion. This was one of my favourite events because it felt intimate and personal, even though there were prominent speakers there.

An experience of a lifetime

 

After only three days of COP23, I have a new-found respect for journalists. Covering new and difficult content is challenging and the pressure to produce articles can be exhausting! There is no time to waste when news needs to get out — even on my end, where the deadlines were a little bit more flexible. Nonetheless, I loved the challenge. Every day was a different learning curve. The process of trying to absorb as much information as I could and quickly translate it into a comprehensible article was exciting.

The past few days at COP23 have been an incredible experience. Here are all the articles that I, and other Young Reporters, wrote during the conference. Be sure to check them out! Once again, thank you so much to the Foundation for Environmental Education and Environmental Defence for this incredible opportunity.

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