13 December 2017 (Waterloo, ON) – On Friday December 15, the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Balsillie School of International Affairs are welcoming over 250 Ontario high school students, community groups academics and researchers for the Global Youth Forum. This year’s event will focus on climate change and sustainability in a global context.

As we look to address climate change, the insights, creativity and energy of young people are more important than ever. "If we as a global community cannot adequately limit increasing temperatures, the world as we know it will be gone. It is youth and future generations who will also bear the greatest burden if such change does not take place,” said Silvia Maciunas, Director of Environmental Law Research at CIGI. She went on to say, “We have to change our economies, our communities and our behaviour.”

Recently, it has been recognized that the nations of the world have not acted with the speed and urgency that they should have to mitigate climate change. A CIGI video about the connection between climate change and human rights, describes that harm–such as catastrophic weather events and loss of homes and lives– will occur even if we reign in carbon emissions. There is an opportunity for youth to mitigate future damage, but they also need solutions and tools to deal with the damage that has already been done. 

“It is a long-term issue, therefore having young people engaged in solutions is one of our biggest hopes to tackle climate change,” said Rohinton Medhora, President of CIGI. Conversations at the Global Youth Forum will be focused on the complexity of government responses to climate change and what legal, social and economic changes can be made to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

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