Wind of change at #COP25
Madrid / 13 December 2019
Positive, clean and fresh air. That is what you breathe at #COP25. All you need to do is go to Madrid’s IFEMA conference center to realize that the fight against climate change is not only on the agendas of politicians, but it is also strongly felt by the public. The public is going to IFEMA to find out first-hand the initiatives that governments, companies and associations are carrying out to address the climate emergency.
Only a few can visit the blue zone, the area reserved for leaders, businessmen and world leaders, where high-level meetings are held and from where - it is supposed - concrete measures will come out. However, there is another livelier space intended for reflection and participation in which civil society is the key player: the green zone, which is smaller, but with a nonbinding involvement.
Just a quick glance is enough for a visitor to the green zone to see that the main driver behind the fight against climate change are young people. They are everywhere at #COP25. Children paint a future without pollution, tell their teachers what they do every day to save water or not waste electricity; university students visit stands by energy companies or research and technology centers to think about their future work; and new graduates are volunteers who proudly carry the COP backpack.
The central space is devoted to debate and this area is full of youth. It is the meeting point for everyone passing through. In the form of a circle, the space embraces the visitor, who is invited to sit, listen and reflect. The question is not what you can do, but what are the many things we’re not already doing to help the planet.
There are so many ways to be sustainable that even the most polluting industries have their greener version, as is the case with the fashion or food industries. This is on display in the green zone: a talk on the transformation of food systems, an exhibition on the work of rural women in America, a sample of mannequins with sustainable clothing or the presence of indigenous peoples and their sustainable ways of life. All initiatives add and give visibility to society's move forward against climate change.
What one does inside COP transcends outside. Not only because from there you might go and plant a tree where you live, but because any visitor leaves convinced that the change is in oneself. A metaphor for change is 'Tomorrow' at the COP, a garden composed of more than 30 types of natural and native plants, designed to be reusable and easy to transport to their next destination. Its objective is the same as that of the summit and for all of us: to generate solutions to make our society more sustainable and more humane.