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Amber Church (R) with Toronto Mayor David Miller and teammate Maia Green at UN climate talks in Copenhagen.

Championing climate change in Copenhagen

January 21, 2010

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SFU earth sciences graduate student Amber Church has just returned from Copenhagen where as national director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition she led the Canadian Youth Delegation (CYD) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

It turned out to be three weeks of frantic behind-the-scenes work. Her group of 35 young Canadians served as a main information source for Canada’s major media outlets. They gave as many as 15 interviews a day, wrote exclusive blogs for the Toronto Star and the CBC as well as a daily CYD blog, and posted podcasts on iTunes, videos on YouTube and photos on Flickr.

"Outside of media work we did a huge amount of policy work," adds Church. "Our teams followed major negotiations on everything from greenhouse gas emission-reduction targets to people looking at deforestation and forestry issues.

"We spent a lot of time meeting with political leaders from Canada and around the world, bringing the Canadian youth perspective to them.

"We’ve had a lot of testimonials in the two weeks since Copenhagen letting us know that we were one of the most effective Canadian groups on the ground."

Church was embarrassed when Canada received the Colossal Fossil award from the Climate Action Network for doing the most each day to obstruct progress during the talks.

"I would like Canada to listen," she says. "At least three-quarters of Canadians would like to see stronger action on climate change and a legally binding agreement."

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