This year the UKYCC was lucky enough to have Becky Daniels, a mother of three who is fighting against fracking in Lancashire, join the International Team at COP23. Below she shares her experience and gives us some top tips for surviving future COPs.
I was recently able to attend the first week of COP23 and I was accredited by the UKYCC. I met an inspiring group of young individuals who I would gladly call friends. This is my quick how to guide to COP….
How to Guide to COP
What do I bring to COP?
Bring yourself, travel light, don’t come with expectations but come with a willingness to absorb the abundance of information at your fingertips.
Should I research?
I didn’t but in hindsight it may be a good idea to check out the event guide on their website (I did try this once I arrived and struggled to navigate the website but I am sure this is more of a me problem rather than a problem with the site).
This is a really good system. Have a buddy not necessarily the same buddy for the time you are there but someone to check in with. Discuss what you want to achieve from your experience, talk about things that matter to you and remember to choose one thing to do for yourself every day.
This is a must. You won’t survive without them. Organise a regular catch up with the rest of your group. Off load all the information you have absorbed this helps you to process what you have learnt as well. It is also a great opportunity to skill share and prepare action points. This is also the time to ask for help if you feel like you have taken too much on. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, your group is there as a support network, use it.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Don’t do what I did and spend 2 days of my trip sitting and listening and nodding to things and then secretly google the acronyms used. If you don’t know – ask, this is how we learn. Once I explained I wasn’t sure what they were saying (which at times sounded like a foreign language) everyone was more than happy to take five minutes longer using the full name before abbreviating it. It really makes a difference and then you are not floundering.
Take time to do one thing for yourself
Take in the scenery. Chances are you are visiting a country you haven’t seen before, take a walk and explore, sit in a park, have a drink in a little bar or a bite to eat in a local cafe. Enjoy the little things in life and appreciate what you have.
It is okay to show emotions
Cry, get angry, laugh, be frustrated. You are only human and some of the things you hear and see can and will affect you. This is why the buddy system is good. I felt a wide range emotions throughout the days, sometimes all within a space of an hour but this is okay.
Do this continuously, learn from your experience and share your new found knowledge.
This is a must. To build a network and a movement you need friends, I won’t say contacts as this is too impersonal, spend time getting to know others and you will find you learn something new and gained a friend – you can never have too many.
Be prepared to be disappointed
On several occasions I was disappointed not by the people I surrounded myself with but the system and the unwillingness of certain delegates I approached not wishing to discuss domestic policy, but don’t give up keep questioning and hounding them. Someone might take notice.
Join an action
Express yourself and join something you believe in.
Finally find an Art Space
This is the place where you will make friends, let your hair down and make art not war.
A massive thank you to the UKYCC international team (Joanna, Clara, Lise, Mark, Simmone, Naomi, Shaan, Fran and Noelie) for giving me this opportunity and everyone else who I met during my stay for enhancing my experience.