Today, WAGGGS had the opportunity to conduct a side event in the Cancunmesse at COP 16. We started out by performing our climate action song to gain attention of the entire building. Once we had a large audience, we told everyone why WAGGGS is at COP. For those of you still unaware, WAGGGS plays an important role in being the voice for women worldwide - and in particular, our 10 million members in 145 countries. Women are vulnerable to climate change and need to be recognized in the UNFCCC. Furthermore, we are trying to raise awareness about the importance of non-formal education. Non-formal education can help girls and young women contribute to the well-being of herself, her family, and her community. Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world participate in non-formal educational curriculums in which they earn badges, play education-based games, and learn about their natural world. We demonstrated the importance of this during our side event.
We played a game that involved 15 participants. Everyone stood in a giant circle, with a piece of paper at their feet. These papers said something about climate change, ranging from the problems of climate change at the beginning of the circle (eg: too much CO2), to individual solutions around the middle of the circle (eg: riding a bicycle), to international solutions at the end of the circle (eg: “seal the deal” at COP). Each of these problems or solutions had an action associated with it. So, to play the game one person would do their action, and subsequently someone else’s action; this person performed their action, and subsequently someone else’s, and so on. If these transitions were not fast enough, the person who botched would move to the beginning (“too much CO2”) and the entire circle of people would shift one space. At the end of the game, the person who was standing next to “seal the deal” won. It took a few minutes for everyone to get the hang of the game, but it was very fun to play.
After we finished our game, we handed out green leaves to everyone that was playing our game and watching. On these leaves, people wrote down an action people should take to help combat climate change. We eventually want to recreate the COP 16 Tree. So far, some of the leaves say, “study and know your world”, eat local and seasonal vegetables”, and “write letters to newspapers and politicians”.
Our first side event was a huge success and I think everyone at COP now knows who WAGGGS is and why we are participating in COP! We look forward to our two side events about Article 6, taking place 2 December.
Megan Van Buskirk, WAGGGS Delegate, Canada