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The youth take a stand

by PhilLee — last modified Dec 07, 2011 04:45 PM
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Today civil society observers held two symbolic actions during the talks, one was a show of solidarity and the other, a show of disgust.

Members of the Canadian Youth Delegation
Members of the Canadian Youth Delegation turn their backs on Canada. Credit: CYD DJC
At around midday, members of the Canadian Youth Delegation took a stand against their Environment Minister, Peter Kent, for his shameless drive to promote tar sands oil throughout the talks - one of the world's dirtiest and most destructive fuels.

As the Minister was about to deliver his opening address to delegates in the talks, six Canadian Youth stood up and turned away from the Minister revealing the message “Turn your back on Canada” prominently displayed on their t-shirts.

Shortly afterwards the individuals involved were ejected from the talks.

In a statement issued after their eviction the Canadian Youth gave their justification:

“Our so-called Environment Minister entered these talks by going on record that he would be defending the tar sands. I have yet to hear him say that he’s here to defend my future” said James Hunt.

Canada has been severely criticised for their continued push to get countries to buy tar sands oil from them. Meanwhile it deliberately downplays the climate impact of tar sands and continues to cast doubt on independent scientific studies.

stand strong for africa

An impromptu action calls for people to 'stand strong for Africa' at the UN climate talks in Durban.
Later, in the dining area, youth from various civil society delegations took part in an impromptu action in support of Africa. Several people sang a popular South African folk song substituting one of the lines with the words "stand strong for Africa."


The purpose of the action was to urge African negotiators to stand strong and not give in to the demands of the developed countries to kill the Kyoto protocol.

Two African members of FoEIs delegation later added to the calls of solidarity and critised the developed countries and corporate lobbyists:

“Many civil society groups are calling Durban a conference of polluters. We cannot let the polluters win and lock in a decade of inaction on the climate crisis. Africa must stand strong on behalf of the people of Africa and the people of the world,” said Bobby Peek of Friends of the Earth South Africa.


Nnimmo Bassey, of Friends of the Earth Nigeria and the Friends of the Earth International Chair, added that: 


“Rich countries must hear loud and clear that Africa won’t pay for their crisis. Developed countries are trying to kill the Kyoto Protocol. They want to turn back the clock to 1997 and shift responsibility for the climate crisis they created onto the developing countries already bearing the brunt of climate change."

Further reading

Press release: Durban inaction a recipe for climate catastrophe

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