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Memorial student to attend UN climate negotiations

By Janet Harron | Nov. 13, 2012

A student from Memorial student will be part of a Canadian youth delegation at the United Nations' climate negotiations from Nov. 26-Dec. 7 in Doha, Qatar. On Tuesday, Nov. 13, she will participate in a panel discussion in the University Centre about climate change, Canada’s role in the UN negotiations and the role of youth.

Perla Hernández, an international student hailing from Mexico, is a political science major and environmental science minor and has been actively fundraising for the past few months and creating awareness about climate change locally and nationally.

Ms. Hernández recently won Memorial’s recognition award for the International Undergraduate Student of the Year 2012 for her outstanding dedication to sustainability and social equity. This fall she was involved the locally organized PowerShift conference on climate change, which brought together 1,500 youth from all over Canada to build a movement on climate justice in the lead up to the UN climate negotiations.

“At the event tonight we are hoping to receive feedback from students and the rest of the community and bring these concerns to the UN conference and also to engage the community on climate change issues and the negotiations through local actions," said Ms. Hernández, who will join nine other students representing Canada at the Qatar conference. "There will be great panellists offering their perspectives about different dimensions of the climate crises. Our delegation will represent the voices of Canadian youth during the meetings with Canadian leaders and world leaders, so everyone’s input will be very valuable."

Other participants in the panel discussion will be Dr. Liam Swiss, Department of Sociology; Bill Hynd, Atlantic outreach co-ordinator, Oxfam; and Rebecca Stuckey, director of student life, Memorial University of Newfoundland's Students' Union.

“I believe that younger generations face an immense challenge ahead in terms of addressing the climate and social crises to avoid even greater issues," said Ms. Hernández, who hopes to eventually work in international development focusing on climate policy. "It is imperative that we organize collectively and use all our creativity and energy to find ways in which we can make more sustainable, responsible and equitable societies in which everyone can live with dignity.

“As a political science and environmental studies student, attending the United Nations climate negotiations is a unique experience to learn in real life how the international negotiations are developed; and also to connect with like-minded youth from across the globe, to share ideas and to create positive change for current and future generations to come.”

All are encouraged to attend this evening’s panel discussion which begins at 7 p.m. in The Landing, University Centre.