Several times the question "What did I learn?" was posed to participants (young people and adults alike) in the Fab Five Seminar on climate change and its impacts at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. At the closing of the seminar, responses included:
Climate change is more dangerous than we think.
We can make a difference and changing to a fluorescent light bulb is a perfect start.
Natural disasters are not gender neutral.
If we don't change the way we live, life as we know it will not exist.
There are five major organs that make up the United Nations; there are 192 member states in the UN – 193 when South Sudan is born and joins this summer.
There are more areas of the world that would be affected by melting ice caps than I thought.
A simple mosquito net can save 70% of a population.
I learned about the extent of the refugee operations by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.
The east-west blocks in New York are long.
The north-south blocks are shorter than the east-west blocks.
I learned that scientists say the safe limit is 350 parts per million of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere – we are at about 388; the United States emits the mosts carbon dioxide per person.
I learned so much about the structure and mission of the UN in broad terms.
I learned that many of the women who died in the 2004 tsunami in Asia, most likely died because they had not been taught to swim or climb trees.
Bangladesh has a small space and a large population.
Subways don't run across Manhattan at 44th Street.
I learned, very specifically, a great deal about the Sudan, the referendum and upcoming changes in the country, and the climate change issues that have impacted this country in the past and that will impact the two countries in the future.
Learning occurred in conversations with other participants, activities, presentations by speakers, and experiencing New York.
Reflections from participants in the climate change seminar at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.