ICLEI USA and 350.org are taking a U.S. People’s Delegation to COP23, the 2017 Conference of the Parties organized under the UNFCCC. Below is a message from delegate Cade Emory Terada from Dutch Harbor, AK. COP23 will take place in Bonn, Germany, from November 6-17, 2017 — you can support Cade’s role at the climate talks here.
My name is Cade Emory Terada. I’m a Japanese American and I am a former United States Arctic Youth Ambassador from the number one fishing port by volume in the nation — every fish sandwich at McDonalds in the world (except in New Zealand and Australia) came from my hometown of Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
Serving as a Youth Arctic Ambassador
I served as one of 22 U.S. Arctic youth that educated the national and international public on Arctic issues that pertain to climate change. I have spoken at numerous events across the country, one of which was the largest Earth Day event in the world in Dallas, Texas. I’ve also gone on an expedition to the Arctic and have seen many communities in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland that are being heavily impacted by climate change.
ICLEI USA and 350.org knew that a U.S. People’s Delegation should be supported, because we as Americans have already had our voices silenced and we need grassroots action to be taken. We cannot sit around and do nothing while homes continue to fall into the ocean due to rising sea levels and intense weather storms displace many innocent Americans from their homes.
However, we cannot do this without your help. We need the help of Americans from all over to support a people-led delegation so that all voices may be heard when making decisions of this grand scale.
Bringing the Arctic Youth Perspective to COP23
With all of that being said, I’ll be attending COP 23 in Bonn, Germany, to represent my community as well as the circumpolar Arctic. I’ll bring the perspective of an Arctic youth, as well as someone who recognizes the correlation between a healthy environment and a sustainable economy.
I want politicians and the rest of the world to know that their seafood — as well as the jobs affiliated with that resource — will cease to exist if action is not taken. All too often we see politicians tout about how jobs will be created, but in this case, jobs will be lost as the fishing industry is the number one producer of jobs in Alaska. Again, I’ve contributed to climate action in my community by telling my story wherever I go and will continue to do so in Germany.
I wish to see more indigenous voices brought to the table. Throughout my years as an activist, I’ve watched indigenous and Native peoples have their voices silenced and cut out because “they don’t know enough”. However, from my observations, I’ve noticed that indigenous communities often are the ones being most heavily impacted by climate change.
In order to create proper and successful change, you must bring the voice that will be impacted the most to the table, otherwise it’s basically an extension of colonialism — an important topic that I will bring to the table in Bonn.
Cade Emory Terada served as one of 22 members of the U.S. Arctic Youth Council that educated the national public on Arctic impacts from climate change. He attends Green Mountain College and is an alumni of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, the U.S. Arctic Youth Ambassador program, and Students On Ice. He is attending COP23 in Bonn, Germany, to represent his community and the circumpolar Arctic by offering the perspective of an Arctic youth to the climate talks.