Urban Eco-Teens Leadership Intern, Esther had the opportunity recently to attend the COP25, an annual climate change conference in Madrid. Esther, a sophomore at Bronxdale High School, also participated in the Alliance’s Garden 2 Market Internship last summer. Here is her telling of this unique experience.
Global Kids is a non-profit organization that focuses on uplifting and encouraging youth leaders and activists. Through global awareness, applicable education, and a wide variety of interactive programs meant to develop leadership skills that teach involved and passionate students an understanding of the world around us and just how immensely they can impact it. Global Kids predominantly works with students from grades 6 to 12 in schools and communities that are commonly underserved and overlooked. Within their focus on global activism and awareness, they additionally involve students in countless travel opportunities that both fuel them with new experiences, immerse them in unfamiliar cultures, and participate in life-changing activism events and opportunities.
I was selected to participate in a trip to Madrid, Spain to be a part of COP25, an annual climate conference of the parties. COP25 is a 2 week long, invitation only summit meant to bring together climate activists and leaders from around the world to discuss and dive deeper into the increasingly dangerous effect that climate change and global warming has come to have. Myself, alongside 5 other high school students from schools all around the 5 boroughs, were able to partake in the fast-paced, Manhattan-like culture of Madrid while simultaneously participating in side-events, roundtables, activities, and discussions during our time overseas. We were able to see the old-fashioned architecture and green hillsides of Toledo and walked up and down the brightly lit streets of the Plaza Mayor by our apartment. During our time at COP25, we connected with other youth activists from every corner of Europe and beyond while learning about what world leaders and other countries are doing to face climate change in their own way. We answered and asked questions in interviews, went to International Fridays for Future meetings, shook hands with representatives from countries all over the planet, and rubbed elbows with other accomplished youth activists. In addition to this, another participant and I constructed and led a presentation about rising sea levels and climate change in relation to New York City in our own side event alongside another organization, Peace Boat, that partners with Global Kids.