What is interesting about the Conference of Youth on Climate Change (COY) is that we have the opportunity to meet citizens of the world and find out what they do to face the issue of climate change.
We interviewed Rock Aboujaoude Jr., a young man from “Campus Climate Corps”. This NGO organises exchanges for students from all over the world. Students who go to the USA are involved in local projects, such as an internship. Their work will not only be useful for themselves, , but also for the local community.
The climate policy of the president of the United States of America Donald Trump is quite clear. For this reason, we wanted to better understand the US position regarding climate change and what the organisation Campus Climate Corps is doing to defy global warming.
Why did you decide to come to COY?
Merely to work and interact with students from all over the world. Working at the international level with people who have a different background is a unique opportunity which doesn’t show up so often in the US.
How does the American youth conceive the issue of climate change?
It’s a hard question because we are 50 States and the problems of Florida may not correspond with the ones of the State of New York or Virginia, for example. Anyway, the average American knows that climate change exists but is not willing to do something about it. A clear example is represented by the Amazon company: its CEO Jeff Bezos is capitalising on consumers who prefer to buy fast and pay less, ignoring the environmental impacts of their consumptions.
It is clear that this is part of the American culture and for it to change we will need to have not only active and determined people, but also an international community that is ready to collaborate in order to make Americans understand they can act individually and collectively for the sake of the environment.
We can’t avoid to ask you something about Donald Trump. How do you evaluate his climate policies?
I would summarise it in one quote: “Don’t make America great again!” In order to make America great again, no matter who the person is, he or she has to recognise that climate change does exist and have to be faced as soon as possible.
But we are talking about the President of America. Until which point can he influence the policies of each State of America?
I can tell you that there are lots of movements, including our of Campus Climate Corps, which are striving so that each State of the American federation will be able to sign the Paris Agreement individually. In this way, the decision would be made by a singular State and not by the Nation. Certainly, Trump is a catalyst, someone who represents America; however, citizens are recognising the problem and are aware that we have to do our part in order to solve it.
For this COP, in which way will the US participate? What do you expect from the participation of the US in the negotiations?
The US will be represented by companies that are switching to green energy. In other words companies that want their investors to be happy, investors that are now demanding their companies to begin investing in climate and green resources. So, companies that will show up to COP are companies that used to pollute, but now are not. This is interesting because, in any case, these companies are behaving in such a way to satisfy the consumers’ wishes: they know that if they want to make more money, they have to make people happy. The US will be represented, unfortunately again, by a consumer-based perspective.