November 4, 2022 | CULTURE | By Rhetta Power | Illustration by Rowan Kempen
On Nov. 3, Colorado College sent a delegation of AN380 students to the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference. This year is the 27th Conference of Parties (COP). COP27 will take place between Nov. 6-18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and is expected to have around 40,000 attendants.
A core mission of CC’s delegation is to bring back tangible climate action and knowledge from the conference to share with the campus community.
As a student in this Egypt-bound class, I would like to introduce you to fellow members of CC’s delegation. Our group is comprised of ten CC students, one student from CSU, one high school student, and two professors. We come from a variety of backgrounds but share a common interest in acting against the terrifying reality of climate change.
From Denver, CO
Sarah, a professor of anthropology, is teaching this class because of a long and winding story that runs through her ethnographic research in Madrid, to Baca, and concludes with a realization that the rest of her life will be focused on climate action and justice work. Sarah is most looking forward to watching how all 14 of us in the delegation find our individual pathways in what we learn. She is also looking forward to pursuing her research on the moral, ethical, and spiritual dimensions of climate activism and her project on love and joy in climate work.
Myra, CC’s mindfulness resident, is teaching this class because of her longstanding involvement with the COP and climate activism. As an Earth Elder, she believes that she can have the greatest impact by supporting inter-generational work. She described her involvement in the course as an “easy yes,” and views the experience as a good use of her time on the planet and her five-plus years of work at CC. Myra is most looking forward to seeing the effects on each of us students and seeing any ripple effects we enact on CC’s campus.
Owen Brown ’24
From Minneapolis, MN
Owen, a mathematical economics major, is taking this course because of his interest in international politics; he believes going to a U.N. conference will be a great way to understand how people negotiate and come to like terms. He is looking forward to speaking with people from a wide variety of backgrounds at the event. Owen is most looking forward to comparing the work of activists, student groups, and NGOs with political organizations in the COP.
Layla Haji ’25
Neuroscience and Biochemistry
From Denver, CO
Layla, a neuroscience and biochemistry major, is taking this class to gain perspective on the magnitude of climate change. She thinks that being able to attend COP and see all the players in action will help her to become a better climate activist. She is very excited to hear all the new proposals for sustainable energy and decarbonization. Layla noted that these interests arise because oceans have only recently been introduced into COPs and countries are really pushing adaptation mitigation this year.
Mary Andrews ’23
Environmental Studies and French
From Northampton, MA
Mary, an environmental studies and French double major, is taking this class in order to gain perspective on which climate issues are most relevant, and use this information to inform her career beyond CC. She is most looking forward to listening. Although she thinks it might be overwhelming, she is going to try to attend as many informational sessions as she can. She is excited to see who is at the conference and view COP with a critical lens. Mary notes that COP seems a bit stagnant; she wants to figure out why things seem as though they are going around in circles.
Olivia Jacobson ’22
From Denver, CO
Olivia, who is studying environmental science and archeology at CC, is taking this course because she wants to take advantage of the opportunity to be able to experience and be involved with climate work happening globally. She is most looking forward to meeting other young people involved in climate action and experiencing all the different forms of exchanging knowledge.
Mika Alexander ’23
From Chicago, IL
Mika, who is studying anthropology, political science, and race, ethnicity and migrations studies, is taking this class because of anthropological research she conducted with Sarah this past summer on climate action in communities. Attending the COP is an opportunity to scale her summer research up to the international level. She is most looking forward to being in a space where she can talk to people involved in all levels of climate actions and negotiations.
Gracie Roe ’25
From Newton, MA
Gracie, a psychology major, is taking this course because it is a chance to share her voice on an international level and immerse herself in climate policies and climate change mitigation. She is most looking forward to presenting at the COP and our affiliated presentations with the Youth Environmental Alliance in Higher Education network.
Reeve Schroeder ’24
Reeve is taking this class because she is an Anthropology major who is generally interested in environmental justice. She is excited to find opportunities to learn more about environmental justice issues at the COP and most excited to have the opportunity to interact with people from so many different backgrounds and places.
Naomi Henry ’24
From Brooklyn, NY
Naomi, who is studying environmental studies, southwest studies, and music, is taking this class because it feels like stepping out of her comfort zone to be in a space with so much power. At the same time, she feels it will be an incredible, scary, and special opportunity to be in a space where so much change is happening. She is really looking forward to meeting many different people from all over and learning about the amazing work they are doing.
Cecilia Timberg ’23
From Washington, D.C.
Cecilia, an environmental studies and anthropology double major, applied to this class not even knowing what COP stood for but was drawn in instead by the fact that we would be practicing ethnography. As an anthropology major, she has been grappling with the question of whether there is an ethical way to practice ethnography. She took this course to watch how ethnographic practices would play out “in the field.” She is most excited for all the things she doesn’t yet know that she doesn’t know.
Amara Nwuneli is a 15-year-old Nigerian-American activist, social innovator, actor, and author. She is the founder of Fight Global Warming Nigeria, a movement that works to raise awareness about climate change among Nigerians through interactive workshops, informational videos, and local initiatives. At COP27, she is excited for the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and work together to make a wide-scale sustainable solution. She also wishes to represent the younger generation of African climate activists. During this event, she plans to not only deepen her understanding and perspective of the fight against climate change but to share what she has already been doing and call for action on a national scale.
Susan Allison is an Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Master’s student from Greenville, South Carolina at Colorado State University. She is attending COP27 as a part of a course at CSU called International Climate Negotiations. She is most looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about how other cultures around the world view sustainability and what taking action looks like from a perspective that is not just the United States policy lens.
Rhetta Power ’23
From Saint Paul, MN
I am studying psychology and feminist and gender studies here at CC and am taking this course because of my experience in the Anthropocene class last year; it opened my eyes to the urgency of collaborative climate action. I am excited to visit Egypt for the opportunity to engage in an international meeting of this scale, and to witness and participate in action being made for our future.
Through CC Communications and platforms such as Instagram and WordPress, our delegation hopes to share as much back home as possible. If issues of environmental justice and international relations interest you, keep an eye out for us!