Category Archives: United Nations Conference of the Parties

Youth Will (Must) Save The Day: United Nations COP26 Youth Marathon

COP26 Final
Most every year since 1995, the world’s nations have been meeting to discuss our global climate crisis at the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP). This year’s session is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, as the United Kingdom hosts the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) until November 12th. And, as part of this year’s event, I was honored to moderate the North America portion of the United Nations Climate & Oceans COP26 24 Hour Youth Marathon this past Saturday.
The Youth Marathon was a day-long event that included three groups of different sessions across three time zones. It was also an incredible opportunity to watch the world’s youth shine as we focused on what I believe is the most important issue today’s young people will face in their lives here on earth.
Satellite events like the one I moderated are intertwined with the more public events that you see covered in the mass media where many world leaders (this year including the United State’s President Joe Biden) give speeches and perform other ceremonial type tasks. At its core, the key focus of the COP meetings is to monitor and shape the status of climate oriented policies being taken around the world to reduce carbon pollution, as well as to review the emission inventories submitted by Parties (the various nations). This information is then used to assess and measure the progress the Parties are making in support of the Convention’s goals. COP21, for example, took place in Paris and it’s not uncommon to hear mention of the “Paris Agreement” which relates to the goals the various nations set at that conference in 2015. Chances are good that you will hear about various Glasgow Agreements in the weeks and years to come that sprout from this month’s meetings (I sure hope that’s the case).
An important element of this year’s event, COP26, is strengthening society’s ability to adapt to climate change impacts globally, as well as mobilizing financing and implementing solutions that have been outlined in previous COP conferences. As our climate change crisis worsens by the day due to man’s use of fossil fuels, it is ever important that every country in the world comes together to help each other in such dire times of need. As I’ve said before, climate change will ultimately impact every aspect of society, every country on our planet, and as such it is imperative that we all come together as a global community and unify in prioritizing and solving what I believe to be the greatest challenge today’s youth will ever face. And that’s what these COP meetings strive to accomplish.
Our  North American session hosted two venerated speakers, the esteemed Dr. Katharine Hayhoe and Emily De Sousa, who spoke to a global audience.
Dr. Hayhoe taught our attendees about the importance of statistics in climate science and her research as Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy and political science professor at Texas Tech University. Her research focuses on establishing a scientific basis for assessing the regional to local-scale impacts of climate change on human systems and the natural environment.
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Emily De Sousa taught our patrons how to effectively communicate with, write to, political leaders. Emily just finished her masters degree and has extensive experience working with politicians to implement sustainable solutions.
IMG_3952Allow me to thank Dr. Hayhoe and Ms. De Sousa for their incredible work and passion. And speaking of passion, allow me to also thank the United Nations Association; acclaimed Gonzalo Alvarez, United Nations Marine Biologist and Oceanographer; and Hannah Glowacki and Karl Birkholtz, UNA Youth Council Members, for helping to organize and support this important event.
But mostly, allow me to thank the world’s youth for participating in the event and being so dedicated to helping make our planet better and cleaning up our climate mess. As your Moderator it was simply amazing to watch the world’s youth illustrate such leadership and fortitude on such an important, ominous topic.
When it comes to our global climate crisis, you, my friends, the world’s youth, will save mankind from its polluting past. This week’s Youth Marathon made that clear yet again, and I am deeply proud of each attendee’s commitment and relentless passion.

From Miami-Dade’s Honor College to Middle & High Schoolers, KIDS GET IT!

So why is it that so few adults in Washington ‘get it’?

The stories pouring out of Washington this past week such as attempts to expand coal mining, eliminating important steps to protect our climate, and ( news that oil companies could be allowed to explore and drill wells in some of America’s National Parks (including Big Cyprus and Everglades National Park!) have many people rightfully upset, myself included. If needed, I’ll spend the rest of my life working to prevent oil explorations at Big Cyprus or Everglades National Park (have the so called “adults” in charge of these changes lost their minds?) and I am certain I will not be alone.

Why am I so certain?

Well, I only need think of the students that I have lectured to and met over the last few weeks. You only need to hear of their concerns, the passions in their voices and to look into their eyes to know that they are worried about what we are doing to our planet, much less their (rightful) fears over what the new “leadership” in Washington has been doing over the last month or two.

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College has the largest institution of higher education in America and their very best students are enrolled in the Honor’s College. These young men and women are an impressive, motivated, and highly intelligent group and I learned that up close earlier this month when I presented a full lecture on climate change, sea level rise and what we need to do to solve this growing crisis. These energetic students were passionate about my talk and the need to get serious about fixing the problem. While those in power in Washington might not be serious about our changing climate, the Miami Dade College Honor’s students most certainly were.

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The Sagemont School

The Sagemont School is located on the edge of the Everglades in far, far Western Broward County in Weston. The middle and high school students that I met with this month might not yet be in college but they sure did express their concerns and are most certainly concerned about whether America’s leaders are serious about creating a sustainable future and protecting our planet.

And why not? No place in America is at greater risk from our ocean’s rising seas than South Florida and no place within South Florida is more at risk of extinction than the Everglades, whose grasslands you can see from the back of the school. Even the youngest students in attendance for my talk that day ‘get it’ and are worried about what is happening to our planet and want to help solve the problem. 

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Wow! Where do I start?
 You are an incredibly bright & passionate young woman who has discovered their gift at an early age and is sharing it with the world. Your light shines for others to see.
Your presentation was captivating, educational & left the kids realizing we can all do something to make a difference. 
It was a pleasure to meet you. I am so grateful you were able to join us!
*By the way, my sustainability class LOVED your books!!!
Thank you for what you do. You are amazing & inspiring!
Elaine Fiore

Climate & Sports Student Summit

And just last weekend I had the pleasure of being the closing speaker at the Climate & Sports Student Summit at American Airlines Arena that was organized by the Green Sports Alliance and the Miami Heat.

IMG_8047The students at this event were from schools all over South Florida and they were not only concerned about what is happening in Washington, as well as South Florida, but I am pleased to report that many of them are already deeply engaged in being part of the solution. And to prove it, they spent an entire Saturday learning about and working on ways to protect our precious environment.

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4638996Take, for example, attendees and speakers Kayla and Kimberly Correiea. These two incredible young women (mind you, they are, like myself, high school students) have founded the Plastic Free Mermaids organization ( and bring awareness about the dangers of plastic in our marine environment, host cleanups and educate others on how to live in a plastic free lifestyle. These girls are amazing and are also very serious about having a positive impact in our world. Please consider visiting their website and following them on social media.

And speaking of the Climate & Sports Student Summit and how serious today’s youth is about learning about what is happening to Florida and how they can help, please consider the note I received after my lecture at the home of the Miami Heat from Mel Rigo who wrote:

Good afternoon Delaney, I attended the American Airlines Arena Summit last Saturday and was really interested in what you presented. After talking it through with my teacher, we’ve decided to contact you and see if you’d be willing to attend our school … April is Earth month and our students have come up with themes for each week of the month, the first week of April will be water week which is why we would definitely love it if you’d like to attend and speak to our students during lunch. Pines Middle School welcomes you and would greatly appreciate it if you could come and tell us about what could soon be happening to our state. Thank you.


Melanie Rigo from Pines Middle School

While many of the adults in Washington right now might not understand (or, at the very least, act like they understand) the importance of shifting our economy from fossil fuels to sustainable solutions such as solar, I can tell you that kids most certainly, absolutely, and undeniably ‘get it’ and these three recent groups once again prove that is the case.

As stupid as the suggestion from the adults ‘in charge’ right now might be that they want to expand coal mining or drill everywhere possible including in our National Parks (!), today’s youth are committed to fixing the climate crisis and ensuring that we change our ways.

Of that, I promise.

March for Science Miami


When I learned of plans to have the first ever March for Science that will take place in Washington on Earth Day (April 22nd), I knew that we had to have a march here in Miami. That very night I created a social media account for a Miami March for Science, as well as a logo patterned after the Washington group’s artwork and began to think of others who would help support all of the cool science taking place in our region and the world.

900_7329f207-b69c-4f7e-8322-9f628fd81358_6587944b-520d-4f6b-bb9f-e075e86c3059_aae036c4-f36f-4c5f-b376-e0e694320656I am so very pleased to share with you that many people in our community are eager to tout the benefits of science and that I have the honor to now be working with some exceptional, passionate, folks who are organizing the official Miami march. A non-profit organization has been formed for the event along with a wonderful website ( and tens of thousands of people have offered to support the effort including a range of local and national organizations, including Miami Waterkeepers, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Natural History Museum, the Nature Conservancy and the Women’s March Miami to name just a few. In addition to attending the upcoming march, you can even get some seriously cool merch to support the march in the form of tee shirts by visiting the Participate page on our website (


So come on Miami, mark you calendars for Earth Day, April 22nd, and join us at Museum Park in Downtown Miami at 11:00 am. Please keep an eye out on The Sink or Swim Project’s social media for more ‘Miami March’ news or follow the March on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and please share the details with all your friends. The more people that march on April 22nd and the louder our voices become, the better. We all know that science trumps politics!

Bravo! COP21 Results in a Landmark Agreement on Climate Change


Yesterday, December 11th, the COP21 Conference including 195 countries came to an agreement on the need to shift from carbon-based fuels and on a way to do so. This is a start to the type of global progress that we need and while the goals and limitations will not solve the problem, it is, finally, a serious beginning. Congratulations to the world’s nations who came together to begin seriously addressing the problem that threatens our future.

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