In 1992 Rio hosted an Earth Summit, and at this summit they created the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC. Since then, countries meet each year to advance international climate policy at the Conference of the Parties (COP). Last year, at COP 21, countries created the Paris Agreement, which is the first significant climate agreement since the Kyoto Protocol. This agreement is different though. This is the first time major countries like the United States and China have committed to reducing their greenhouse gases in a tangible way. At COP 22 countries will come together to discuss the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and Care About Climate will be there to promote ambitious greenhouse gas reduction, support loss and damage, and advocate for climate finance for developing countries. We will also be working with other groups to promote the Climate Sign. Meet our delegates, and you can follow our travels on this blog.
Natalie is the founder and CEO of Care About Climate. She is a recent graduate from the University of Arizona with a Masters in Development Practice. Natalie has attended and led youth delegations to four UN Climate Negotiations, or COPs, and has been advocating for climate action internationally and domestically throughout her professional career. Throughout her adventures she has worked on significant sustainability projects at the University of Arizona such as community gardens and waste diversion programs, has done research in Indonesia and Namibia related to conservation and forestry, and has worked collaboratively with youth around the world to help support climate action projects with Care About Climate. She believes that with collaboration we can achieve anything, and Natalie works to build bridges to make this happen.
She is excited to go to COP to connect with more groups to make climate action a priority for the world.
Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Leah Edwards is a young professional currently working at an investment management firm in San Francisco. She was one of the founding board members of Care About Climate, and is passionate about increasing awareness of climate change and encouraging sustainable practices. She also serves on the Board of the League of Women Voters San Francisco, and helps develop the curriculum for a Financial Literacy program at San Quentin State Prison. In college, Leah was involved in many sustainability initiatives as a chairperson for Students for Sustainability and through her internship with the NASA Space Grant Consortium. In her spare time, Leah enjoys traveling, and has worked as an intern at the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and volunteered at the Maya Mountain Research Farm in rural Belize.
I am excited to attend COP because I believe that individuals acting together can change the world, and that COP is an incredible opportunity for people across borders to come together and take action on climate change.
Howdy. My name is Nick Jones and I hail from Flagstaff, Arizona. I have degrees in hydrology and history from the University of Arizona. I have worked in both public and private sectors, most notably for Uber and the Arizona State Senate. My long term goal is to work in Washington to bring environmental policies to fruition that also spur our economic growth by putting people back to work in the green sector. One of the most dangerous premises today is separating the human world from the natural world. The typical human being’s day-to-day interaction with the environment is not in a meadow or forest; it’s walking down a side-walk or in a transit vehicle, hustling through the activities of daily life.
As a co-founder of Care about Climate I have the pleasure and honor of serving as Chair of the board. I ensure information and opinions are making their way up from the officers, and that proposed programs are tempered by the combined experience and knowledge of the board. That way our organization can put forth the best and most efficient programs, optimizing our resources. Seeing Care about Climate reach this milestone of participating in COP and being able to send a delegation are the greatest reward I could imagine for my time with this nonprofit. It has given me a platform to advocate for our positions, and, more importantly, to be able to learn from my global peers.
Climate change is an excellent example of what happens when global issues arise that force us to stop acting individually and bring us together to learn and to act as one. COP represents an opportunity to do this, and I look forward to participating.
My name is Sarah Voska, I’m 21 years old and from the Chicago suburbs. I’m currently living in Londrina, Brazil volunteering with the youth group of a local church. I am a Junior Sustainable Management major at University of Wisconsin, completing my bachelor’s degree completely online. The program’s nature has allowed me the opportunity to travel and gain a different perspective on environmental policy and social issues in Latin America. My career goals include working with municipal government in South America to work towards sustainable development. I am fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese. I hope to brush up on some French preceding my time in Morocco (unless I manage to learn Arabic!!) I think that food is the most basic way that we interact with our environment, and enjoy cooking, and reading books about food & the environment. In my free time I like to learn languages and practice martial arts.
My role with Care About Climate is coordinating the Online Youth Exchange/ Climate Ambassador’s Program. OYE is a cross between a “penpal” and a professional development network for youth environmental activists (ages 16-30) that pairs students from around the world to discuss environmental issues and receive trainings on community activism and specific environmental topics like climate change, pollution, and alternative energies. This year, we have 70 participants from 30 countries around the world. The goal is to create a platform for student activists to connect and develop strategies to promote change on a campus and global level. During COP, we hope to reach out to youth organizations from around the world to expand the program, and eventually use the program as a way to connect the policy proposals of our participants to working papers and progress in the COY space.
I’m excited for COP because I believe that the world’s citizens have much more in common than that which separates us. As a collective group, through citizen diplomacy, we can make an impact on how the world will look for future generations.
Nick McCreary grew up in Tampa and Dallas. Nick received a B.S. in Geology from DePauw University. Currently, he is a graduate student at Saint Louis University working towards an M.S. in Sustainability. At SLU Nick is a Sustainability Coordinator – Graduate Assistant and runs various programs and initiatives including an energy competition and a sustainability focused student group. At DePauw Nick started an athletics recycling program, focusing on tailgate waste diversion. Nick has worked with St. Louis EarthDay as a recycling ambassador and The Missouri Botanical Garden as a sustainability education intern. Nick is passionate about sustainability in higher education, sustainability in collegiate and professional sports, and local food system sustainability. In his spare time, he enjoys being active, cooking, and watching the Texas Rangers.
We will post updates during the conference, and you can keep up with our delegates here.