Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Copenhagen, China...and DePauw

"We have learned quite a few things after a week as student observers at the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen," DePauw University students Pucong Han and Anthony Baratta wrote in the China Daily last week. Their letter was reported by the DePauw news bureau. The pair are among a group of DePauw students who traveled to Denmark, for the climate change conference known as COP15. (photo, l-r: DePauw students Taylor Cantril, Anthony Baratta, Andrew Maddocks)

"Our class of 13 -- four students from China, one each from India and Myanmar, and seven from the United States -- walked around the Bella Center and took note of the positions articulated by different countries," the two undergraduates write (Pucong Han '11 hails from Beijing, while Anthony Baratta '11 is from Ohio). "Although the negotiations were complex one thing was clear. Irrespective of the outcome at Copenhagen, our generation of Chinese and American youth has the opportunity to work together to solve the issue of climate change. The youth in both countries can cooperate by raising awareness about global warming. In fact, many students have already taken the lead."

Their letter to the editor continues, "We helped found the DePauw Environmental Policy Project, the program that brought us to Copenhagen. The youth in both nations can cooperate by facilitating understanding between China and the U.S. There is often suspicion between our nations. Both wonder -- 'Is the other sincere in its promises?' Here in Copenhagen, a 'China-U.S. Youth' dinner brought together 50 Chinese and an equal number of American students. We ate Gong Bao Chicken, Zuo Jiao Beef, and other delicious dishes. During the meal, we discussed what we had learned about global warming, as well as the contentious issues debated at the climate summit. By the end of the evening, we had become friends and better understood the reasons for our countries' disagreements regarding a new climate change treaty. We were no longer mistrustful of the others' intentions. We hope that more American and Chinese students would have opportunities to learn from each other. Maybe, we will play a small part in encouraging cooperation between our countries."

They add, "We are doing this because we are the leaders of tomorrow. Climate change is an issue that will not disappear anytime soon, and we must try to mitigate its impact and adapt."

China Daily is the most widely-circulated English-language daily newspaper published in the People's Republic of China.


No comments: