“We must position ourselves on the right side of the story and not just be a spectator”

I am 20 years old and I study law at the University of Costa Rica. I am participating for the first time in a COP, with the Costa Rican delegation representing the Youth and Climate Change Network of my country. I have no doubts that the issue that brings together almost 200 nations in Madrid is the biggest challenge we face as humanity; and therefore, it is not for less the relevance of the Summit for all the citizens of the world.

I come from Latin America: the diverse, unequal and vulnerable region. But it is also a region with many natural resources, which are not always given the best care, and on many occasions they are wasted.

As a young and future lawyer I feel extremely privileged to be part of the Conference since, unlike many Latin Americans, I still do not have to fight for my life in order to survive. For this reason, the responsibility that falls on my shoulders and all of us is very important, because those that we have a voice and capacity to influence in our different spaces, we have a moral duty to carry that suffering and distress to the decision making, to do most efficient ways possible to face all the challenges that carry on the climate change.

However, I have participated in various meetings, which serve as the basis for negotiations, where I have conclusion that we are immersed in a highly formalistic and inefficient system. A system that does not move at the same speed of the phenomenon that stalks us. And here, the role of civil society is essential to press a change of will of those countries that continue to present obstacles for decision-making. Being part of it, and participating in the Climate March that took place on Friday 7th in the center of the Spanish capital, showed me the strength and determination that characterizes us as humanity, where half a million people demonstrated that it is a problem of life or death, of human rights, of young people, of indigenous peoples, a struggle that merits an immediate solution.

I want to believe that beyond the political and economic interests of the respective countries there is a heart capable of feeling empathy and acting in accordance with that empathy. Otherwise, we, the youth of the world, will suffer the consequences that could have been avoided if there had been political will on the part of the negotiators and the countries they represent. It is a fact that after 24 summits the real progress is poor and the urgency is palpable, intensifying more and more rapidly.

Based on that, leaders of all social sectors must emerge with the ability to awaken those consciences that remain asleep, who are encouraged to be actors of change, since, no doubt, the hope is also placed in us: citizens of the world. According to each of our abilities, we should be part and not wait for others to take the baton. I will continue my work from student and national politics, academia and law, incorporating the voices of those who are most affected in the discussions that arise. We are in a critical moment, and it is in us to position ourselves on the right side of the story and not only be a spectator in such a delicate situation. The time to act is now, are you with us?

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