COP20 Lima Through Our Eyes: Jeff Buhse
From 1-12 December 2014, members of the LWF Youth Delegation will be sharing their personal impressions of activities and events taking place during COP20 in Lima, Peru. The first in the series, blogger Jeff Buhse of ELCIC in Manitoba, Canada shares his impressions in preparation for his second appearance at a COP20 event. Follow Jeff and the other delegates' progress on Twitter using hashtagLWFclimate or hashtagfastfortheclimate & @LWFyouth!
By Jeff Buhse, LWF Youth Delegate (COP20)
Here I am in Lima, Peru, eagerly awaiting the beginning of the 20th Conference of Parties (COP 20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a moment, for which I’ve been waiting for months. Leading up to this moment, I’d been preparing myself slowly, but on my 16-hour journey to Lima (11 hours of flying with layovers in Denver and Houston), I found myself with a lot more time to devote to some serious reading and thoughtful reflection. Even though I’d read all of the forwarded materials beforehand as part of my day-to-day work responsibilities, I hadn’t had the opportunity to absorb fully what I had been reading So now having the opportunity to re-read all the materials on this very long flight, has made all the difference.
Two years ago, I had the opportunity to represent the LWF to COP 18 in Doha, Qatar. So far the biggest difference that I’ve noticed this time around is that I feel much more prepared. This time, I am much more familiar with the process, with conference expectations and also the role I must play.
COP 18 was a great learning experience for me and the entire LWF delegation, but since it was our first time attending as a delegation, it really felt like more of a "scouting mission". However since that time, LWF has done significant work related to the area of climate change which is another reason why now I feel so much more prepared. The LWF has made some very clear expectations about the role of its delegates and what we should hope to accomplish at COP 20. The LWF also has assembled a number of resources in order to support our communion and to call all of our members to action in the fight against climate change. The LWF council agreed upon the following statement and agreed to certain goals found on the website. http://www.lutheranworld.org/sites/default/files/Council2014-PublicStatement_ClimateJustice.pdf
In reviewing the resources provided by the LWF, I am constantly reminded that we are called together in solidarity with our brothers and sisters across the world, not only because of our religion, but because this is what we are called to do as humans. Every document emphasizes that we must support one another and all of creation to ensure a safe and equitable world for generations to come. We are working ecumenically, with interfaith discussions and have put a large emphasis on youth in this whole process. Although I don't like to draw attention to this too often, it is worth noting that the entire LWF delegation to COP 20 (along with the 2 previous COPs) is made up entirely of youth delegates. We are not tokens and LWF’s decision to send youth delegates to COP20 was not by accident. The LWF's statement on Climate Justice lays the groundwork for this by stating that the issue of climate change affects us, the youth, the most, as this is the earth that the future generations are inheriting. This is why the LWF is providing us with the opportunity to be at the discussion on behalf of our communion; 74 million Lutherans, 144 member churches, 72 countries. For this, I am truly humbled, honored, and thankful.