January 13, 2010

'Hopenhagen': While climate change treaty fell through, Racine delegate finds hope in youth movement

Jamie Racine's message from 'Hopenhagen'

Jamie Racine left for Copenhagen, Denmark in early December in hopes of witnessing, even helping to create, an international agreement to reverse global warming.

While the negotiations didn't go as she hoped - no agreement was reached - Racine returned from the climate change conference with a wealth of knowledge, insight and confidence in the strength of a worldwide movement to protect the planet and everyone who lives here.

Racine traveled to Copenhagen - renamed "Hopenhagen" by some during the climate change conference - as part of a Midwest youth delegation organized by the Will Steger Foundation. She was one of 2,000 youthes from around the world, including 500 from the U.S., who organized in Copenhagen to influence the global treaty and to speak on behalf of millions of youthes around the world who are concerned about the catastrophic environmental degradation that us under way.

While the delegation was young, it came prepared. Using an ingenious array online tools, organizational skills and creativity, youthes attended negotiations, pinned down the heads of state on key issues and reported back to communities around the world about their hopes for what Racine described as a "bold, binding and just treaty."

"We saw US youth quoted in Chinese papers, Chinese youth in Indian papers and Indian youth in US papers," Racine said. "It didn't matter what country we represented. We were working for the future across lines."

Racine herself blogged, Tweeted and recorded daily during the three-week long trip. She wrote for The Journal Times (read here and here), and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (read here), interviewed Gov. Jim Doyle, held video conference calls with students from Walden High School, and was quoted in three Copenhagen-area newspapers.

Racine was also part of closed-door meetings with US government leaders, sat in on treaty negotiations, and joined 100,000 people in their march through Copenhagen. The challenge for the youth movement, Racine said, was to display its energy, while also coming off as meaningful participants in the negotiations.

"There was some concern and discussion about how we are perceived in media and by the negotiators when planning actions," Racine said. "We wanted to show passion, livelihood and fun, but also be taken seriously."

To overcome any prejudices, many of the youthes became experts on policy and immersed themselves in the negotiations. Some participants actually got language added to the treaty - a major accomplishment that requires the approval of over 100 countries, Racine said.

Locally, the intensity of youth interest in the climate change negotiations - and the concern for the global environment - was apparent in Walden High School students who followed Racine, and the Copenhagen conference. They watched issue briefings online, followed daily/hourly news and advocated for a

Racine said she wasn't surprised. "Youth are under great criticism because of their age, so they become more knowledgeable," she said.

For all their work, though, the youth movement couldn't sway world leaders to a final agreement. One of the most important, and for Racine, disappointing, hold outs was President Obama.

The president was scheduled to speak at the conference on a day when the public - including the youth delegation - was not able to attend. Racine watched from her hotel room as Obama, basically, doused any hope of a treaty during a lifeless, perfunctory speech.

"What we saw on Friday, was the president fly in, came in through a backdoor, talk to heads of state, and leave out of back door," Racine said. "He appeared disengaged. He didn't talk with the level of passion we've seem him speak."

"Initially it was a vast disappointment," she said. (Read Racine's account of Obama's speech here.)

Back in the states, Racine's disappointment with the conference's outcome gave way to hope for the coalition she witnessed forming across international boundaries and above and beyond a handful of leaders. The heads of states may still be struggling with global warming, but millions of people around the world are taking action to prevent the catastrophic changes we could see in our lifetimes without meaningful action.

"Our results cannot be defined by the heads of our governments," she said.

The reason? Global climate change is too important of an issue to leave to politicians.

"We're not talking about a far off issue," said Racine, who keeps her 2-year-old daughter in mind when thinking of a world that could look vastly different in 50 years if temperatures continue to rise. "We're talking about our ability to grow food and house the human pouplation. Millions of people will be displaced."

There are plenty of opportunities to take action, Racine said. The state Legislature and the U.S. Congress are scheduled to vote on climate change legislation this year, and the next international climate change summit is scheduled for Mexico City in December.

Racine said she's hoping to attend the Mexico City summit. There's already talk of a bike trip from the Midwest, and she hopes to be part of it.

Interested in having Jamie Racine talk to your class, group or organization? Contact her at: jamier@willstegerfoundation.org


  1. When all else fails, manipulate the data.

  2. Where to begin? Climategate? The fact that whole idea of climate justice is yet another Tax idea.
    The U.N. who can not run Food for Oil how in hell are they going to run anything?
    We can not forget the 20 + Congressmen and the huge amounts they spent on the fun and games in Denmark.

  3. Global Warming = Socialist Propaganda

  4. Meanwhile, Record cold temps sweep the nation.......

  5. You can't have a treaty to reverse global warming when global warming doesn't exist.

  6. She must have changed her name, huh?

  7. But the dope in Denmark is oh so good

  8. We will still have access to the minds of the young. We can indoctrinate them. They will become missionaries for the "ONE EARTH RELIGION". They will worship the creation, not the creator.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. "Global climate change is too important of an issue to leave to politicians."

    I couldn't agree more... but then again, I would also say:

    "(FILL IN THE BLANK) is too important of an issue to leave to politicians."

  11. Michael Mann, Penn State "Educator" and creator of the now discredited HOCKEY STICK GRAPH received $541,184 in ECONOMIC STIMULUS funds last June to conduct climate change research.

    Some delicious irony here. As Mann and his cronies phony up data climate alarmists use to promote job killing policies, he gets STIMULUS MONEY.

  12. Big Government+Big Business+Big Unions = Global Warming

  13. The National Climatic Data Center of the US Department of Commerce just reported that December 2009 was the COLDEST December IN 114 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!

    There continues to be more REAL EVIDENCE that global warming is A FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Who paid for this the three-week long trip. Does she have that much vacation time from the city ? Going to Mexico City too? Does'nt she have a job here in Racine ??

  15. wow, amazing how the merest mention of the enviroment brings out the right wing whacko element.

  16. That's right because we read the papers and understand Climategate we are wackos. Becuse we watch the youtube videos of what the "Leaders say" we are wackos. Note I loved the videos of the riots myself.

  17. Conservatives are just mad because Jamie Racine is hot and they are not.

  18. That she is. I so enjoyed debating the leftest women at U.W. Madison.

  19. To get to this story one must click on a link that says "Our Delegate". Elected by us?

    She may be Dustin and Pete's delegate, but she obviously doesn't speak for most of those who have posted comments here.

  20. 10:02 - if you think she is hot either you need glasses or stronger lenses. Otherwise you have a very liberal rating system.

  21. Climategate.... are any of you ever so well-informed bloggers reading up on the investigations since the media splash?

    Un-educated opinions vs. research... hum, which is most convenient to believe?

    Here's a radically left-leaning article just released by ...The Economist...


    Read into it a little, instead of taking the 'liberal' media at face value.

  22. Politics aside, this is a good news story until the shill-job in italics at the end.

  23. Proud to have Wisconsin represented at this conference... I hope we continue moving forward with this research and find viable solutions.

    Trying to re-work a waste-based economy that has taken 70 years to develop and has separated us from our food source, communities, and environment, into one that conserves resources, keeps money circulating in the community, builds local relationships, provides food-security will take some time and effort.... keep it real.. keep on !

    Let's keep it

  24. Ben - is it Global Warming, Climate Change or have you lefties come up with a new name since you have not been able to sell the 1st two? Oh, by the way, we have had the coldest average U.S. temperatures in years. Care to explain that? Gore has made millions on you dreamers as he tools around the world on his private jet. And how about all the private jets at the conference and the over 50 limo's also. These people are really thinking green - aren't they???