Local girl, Rudie Sweetman, a 14 year old daughter of Insight 2015 participant Libby Sweetman, was one of six worldwide delegates selected to attend The Global Youth for Environment Leadership Summit (GYELS) in Seoul, South Korea and the first ever Irish representative.
Qualifying for the summit which was co-hosted by Samsung Engineering and Korea Green Foundation involved participating on the online Tunza Eco-Generation Forum1, submitting a CV and writing a 200-word essay on “The Future of Energy and Young People – Why I should participate in 2016 Global Youth Eco-Leadership Summit.”
On Sunday 24th January 2015 I left for Dublin Airport with Mum as my chaperone. We arrived at Incheon Airport the following day at 3:00pm following a 17 ½ hour journey via Amsterdam and I enjoyed a week of lectures, workgroups, guided tours, buffet breakfasts and dinners, outings, a trip to Everland Theme Park, shopping and making friends.
Lectures and workgroups were held at Seoul National University. On Tuesday 26th I had a full day of lectures delivered by Dr. Sunjin Yun – Vice Dean of Graduate School of Environmental Studies; Prof. Myoungiu Lee – Professor of Myongji University; Julian Quintart – Korean Entertainer and Belgian Citizen; H.E Gerhard Sabahil – Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Rep. of Korea and H.E Thomas Lehmann – Ambassador of Denmark to Rep. of Korea.
Workgroup teams were put together on Wednesday 27th and as Leader of Team G, I represented Industries whilst other team members represented other stakeholders including Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Developed Countries, Developing Countries and Academic Experts. A position paper for each stakeholder was submitted, discussions held and a resolution drafted on “How Stakeholders Can Eliminate Global Warming.”
Some areas explored include government controls on the release of carbon emissions, using carbon meters and green taxes to raise funds for education and health as well as to assist developing countries with finding eco-friendly energy sources.
Many carbon fast methods to save our environment were also raised including using raw spaghetti instead of straws, eating less meat, walking or cycling instead of using private transport, switching off lights when not in use, eating less meat and reducing food waste which produces methane gas.
I am looking forward to working with various Irish stakeholders that are raising awareness on climate change and sustainable development goals. These include Tearfund Ireland an International NGO that works with marginalised people in various parts of the world and witnessing the devastating effects of climate change on their livelihoods; Development Perspectives a Drogheda based NGO who run development education programmes like Insight to raise public awareness on the world around us, including the effects of climate change; Drogheda’s V & W Recycling Centre an easily accessible recycling centre which my family regularly uses.
My week in Seoul was one I will remember for a very long time. I made new friends from many parts of the world including South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kenya, United Araba Emirates, Mexico, Thailand and Bahrain. I would encourage all young people in Drogheda and Ireland to engage in eco-friendly practices because our future depends on it!
I am grateful to Samsung Engineering, Korea Green Foundation and Tunza Eco-Generation Forum for the once in a lifetime opportunity!