“From grey to green” in Poland

The first thing you see when you land in the city of Katowice on the road from the airport to the centre are the coal industries emitting huge grey clouds that obscure the sky. Katowice is the city that this year will host the International Conference on Climate Change (COP24), where politicians meet to discuss about the future of our planet. This may seem a contradiction: why is the meeting on climate change held in a city where coal is one of the main industries?

Well, it’s true that Katowice used to be one of the most polluted cities in Europe because of coal, but now this city is also trying to do better, both towards the people who breathe polluted air and towards the climate in more general terms. Around the city it’s possible to see slogans like “from grey to green” and also images on how fossil fuel should be abolished.

The COY (Global Conference of Youth), now at its 14th edition, is an event that involves a larger and larger number of young people fighting against climate change. It takes place annually in preparation for the COP (Conference of the Parties), this year from the 29th to the 1st of December. The main objective of the COY is to influence the delegations of the countries in their decision-making processes regarding the environment. The youth that will meet at this year’s COY will be more than 2000, from more than 100 countries. They will discuss and share knowledge and awareness on the climate change and the future of the planet.This year’s hot topic is how the Paris Agreement will proceed and if countries have been loyal to what they said they would have done to improve the situation.

In 2018 there have also been 18 national COYs (L-COYs), that have given youngsters the chance to say their opinion to other youngsters at the local level. This was one of the initiatives in place that seeks to involve a greater amount of people in the fight for the well-being of our planet. Because, as said by Krzysztof Tarabura, board member of the organizational team for the COY14, “everybody needs to be a part of this”.

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