Empowering the Young – Visiting the LCOY Climate Conference 2023

Although Climate Change is a central topic in the GCE program, some aspects cannot be understood within the bubble of Bayreuth’s lecture halls. From 6th to 9th of October, Flemming, Luisa and Anna attended the Local Conference of Youth (LCOY) in Munich. Over 1500 students, pupils, and young people met to network and exchange ideas about climate issues with practitioners, scientists, politicians, and activists.

An engaging program

The program offered a diverse range of workshops, podium discussions, skill-building sessions, and lectures on various topics. The event provided opportunities for networking through snack tables, workshops, and open discussion formats. In the evening, there were fun meeting programs such as speed dating, board games, and a science slam where scientists presented their research in a quick and humorous way.

With hundreds of possible options to choose from, I sometimes felt overwhelmed, but I was able to attend some activities that were valuable to me. One workshop that I particularly enjoyed was about constructive journalism, which provided practical information on climate communication to the public – a skill that may be just as critical as climate research itself.

Marker pens and a mug on a poster with writing.
Reporting alarming information on global changes, while retaining hopeful and solution-oriented is a tough challenge. We developed workshop-style designs for “constructive journalism,” which should include a concrete “call to action” while not hiding the severity of the situation.

Different views

During an event, I had the opportunity to personally meet the ambassador of the United Arab Empire. We discussed the upcoming COP28 (2023) in Dubai and exchanged views about the representation of the global south, the expectations of the host nation, and the interplay of diplomacy, geopolitics, and climate action. Despite the nation’s reputation as an oil-rich country, I found it interesting to have a face-to-face conversation about these issues. It was fascinating to observe how diplomats and politicians can talk about something without saying much. When I asked about behaviour changes and disruptive transformations, the ambassador’s response was deeply rooted in the current system logic along the lines of “technology will save us”. Although this was partly frustrating, I felt that everyone ended up learning something from each other.

Two people holding a banner in the front of a lecture hall. The banner reads "STOP GREENWASHING COLONIALISM - CANCEL THE DEBT!" and a fist.
Activists protest against World Bank policies during a podium discussion.

It was truly inspiring to witness young people from diverse backgrounds actively participating in discussions, workshops, and panels with an incredible level of knowledge about sustainability. Even high school students, as young as 17 years old, were able to comprehend and effectively communicate the urgency of environmental problems to older politicians, which gave me hope for the future. Overall, the LCOY was a weekend well spent with great company, valuable insights, and engaging discussions. It was a reminder that each one of us can be an agent of change!

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With a background in Environmental and Sustainability Science from Lüneburg, my interest is especially in biodiversity and the dynamic interplay of humans with nature. I love to take pictures of animals and getting close to wildlife. Outside of that, I'm passionate about playing, listening to, and dancing to all sorts of music.

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