Today was my second day at the UN Ocean Conference. I am having very mixed feelings because I am very heartened and disheartened at the same time. I feel this way because I have found that the work of many of the NGOs and other grassroots organizations have been very inspiring and uplifting yet the work of the governments while impressive is rifled with compromises and more often than not do not propose solutions. Instead there is only more talk of what is being done in one small area of the world and the continual problems that arise. However, I think that there must be more dialogue on not only the problems at hand and what we are facing but there also must be conversation on the solutions that can actually be implemented in communities worldwide.
That being said one of the best events I had been to today and during the conference so far was one centered on ocean literacy. Which is educating people on the issues of the ocean that way people will be more compelled to take action in order to actually solve these problems. I think that this is one of the most important things that we can do to make a true impact on these issues. While this one of the best events I have been to it was lacking in terms of youth. In the sense that it continually talked about the need for youth within these issues especially in terms of education, yet there was no effort to actually include the youth voice. As a 17 year old attending this conference I am one of the youngest if not youngest person at this conference and yet while they discussed that they had spoken to the youth at this conference concerning this issue I was not present nor was the delegation from the Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute and we actually comprise the youth here. I think it is very important that youth voices are represented but I do think that it should be youth speaking on behalf of the youth versus a middle aged man.
All of this being said, I am still very inspired by this conference but more so by the individuals I have met from youth in New Zealand to the indigenous people of the Pacific Rim rather than the governmental action taking place. I believe that they are the people that will make the true difference because the earth and oceans are in the hands of the people and not the hands of one or two or a hundred governmental actors.