Speaker Zooms in from UN Climate Change Conference

Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) Southeast Regional Coordinator Solemi Hernandez spoke to Parker’s Climate Science and Environmental Justice class live from the UN Climate Change Conference this week. CCL is a nonprofit organization that focuses on national policy to address climate change.

Hernandez spoke about her organization’s participation as an observer at the conference, which helps maintain transparency in the negotiation process. Having attended two previous conferences, she said her goal is to bring more voices to the table and share her organization’s work with people around the globe.

“The action needs to be now,” Hernandez said. “We need policy change, need to organize and enact policies that work.”

Specifically, Hernandez is hoping to obtain financing for loss and damage—the paying of reparations to places where climate disasters have taken place—a main point of discussion at this year’s conference in the wake of the devastating flooding in Pakistan. In her territory of Florida, significant loss and damage occurred due to the effects of Hurricane Ian, requiring support for recovery.

Students asked questions about the conference and Hernandez’s goals and strategies to persuade people with opposing views. Hernandez advised finding common ground with others and meeting people where they are.

Upper School History teacher Andy Bigelow said, “The kids were awesome, asked great questions and were able to unpack and embrace the purpose of deliberations, climate activism, COP27 and the steps they need to take in their end-of-semester Call to Action projects.”

This unique opportunity was made possible through a partnership with the Close Up Foundation, a nonprofit that provides participants with a stronger understanding of government institutions, history and current issues, and their roles as citizens. Hernandez’s talk was just one portion of a week-long project with Close Up that will help set up the students for their final projects.

Bringing the outside in is a core part of Parker’s mission so students are able to explore different perspectives and learn how to be creative and innovative citizens in our society. 
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.