Walking the talk
After my preposterous foray into international politics and environmental advocacy what do I do now?!
This is a good question I can tell you! It’s something I thought about ALL the way home from Poznan. Asking myself things like: Where does this leave me now? How will life settle down to be being normal again, in fact, who am I to say what ‘normal’ is when there is so much to be done and every thing about our way of life shouldn’t be the ‘norm’?
Well needless to say I haven’t come up with a definitive answer yet but I’m doing lots of different things, inspired by my Poznan experience, in an attempt to cover all the necessary bases. For instance, as I had collected over £1000 from family friends, before I went, I felt an obligation to these fantastic and supportive people, to show them exactly what happened in Poznan; what were the outcomes; what does this mean for the coming year? As a result, I spent a torturous 4 days around Christmas time trying to make a talk that amalgamated all the different facets of my experience. Hell. Oh god. It was impossible…
I spent half a day looking through every single one of my emails in my UKYD email account, I phoned policy wonks frantically trying to grasp topics that had I been in the policy team, I would have studied before going to Poznan, skim reading as many policy outcomes documents as possible, and of course, seeking out photos from far and wide! Funnily enough (well not really), a lot of things that had previously seemed difficult to grasp and way over my head at the actual event, fell into place after reading all the necessary paperwork, booklets, summary papers etc etc! Dammit why didn’t I do that before I went?
Anyway, I now have a polished talk that I have delivered over 4 times, to very different audiences-each one of them a learning curve. The first was a lesson in IT and summarising; the second was a lesson in short is sweet, the third, a lesson in invitations, and the fourth a lesson in psychology. The interesting, and frankly scary, thing about getting audience feedback was that most people (even those who’d given me money), had no idea why I went, what I would be doing there, and worst of all, what process I was trying to effect.(Before the talk that is) The UN processes seem so far removed from everyday life that nobody, who isn’t a politician or an engaged stakeholder, is interested or empowered enough to express an opinion. I found it hugely humbling and also slightly embarrassing to receive such praise and kind words from the very people who’d enable me to go in the first place. I have found that the talk seems to be a source of inspiration and motivation to many, which I hope will act as a catalyst for increased political involvement surrounding this topic, and also more collaboration between the generations. Speaking plainly, I want to see generations of families going to marches about climate justice; grandmother hand in hand with grandchildren, partners, parents and sprogs alike out in force to fight for the right decisions to be made. I’ve only got 6 months, but I WILL make this happen!
So there is where you come in; if you can think of a group of people, or you could get your friends together, or you can suggest a contact in a secondary school or a sixth form somewhere, who may be interested in receiving a talk about what I did, and the coming year, let me know. You can email me or leave me a comment, and I will get back to you.
The thing is though, this is just my experience, and it’s a great tool to try and empower others like I myself was empowered by the experience. Yet that is all it is. A tool. It’s a way in to a topic that people dread-and are also disenfranchised from. So, if you have had a light bulb moment when it comes to climate change and the like, use it. Use it as a tool to get people to where you are right now. You never know whose light bulb moment you might be!