Since July, Danielle Sanger '19 has been interning at Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT), an organization that promotes sustainable transport, and attended the most recent UN Climate Change meeting, the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23), in Bonn, Germany earlier this month.
Sanger tells The Gazette about her experience at the conference engaging with global policymakers and facilitating discussions, and reminds the public to combat climate change on local and individual levels.
What do you do as an intern at SLoCaT?
A large part of my internship over the last few months was spent preparing for the COP23 Conference, where countries meet to discuss progress on climate change action and negotiate further obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As the transport sector currently contributes nearly a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions globally, SLoCaT is working to mobilize global support for sustainable low carbon transport in developing countries.
As an intern at its secretariat, I assisted research on various sustainable development projects and worked on SLoCaT's social media outreach, helping start up its Facebook page and a series of live-stream discussions focusing on transport and climate change.
What did you do at the COP23 Conference?
This year for the first time, SLoCaT produced a series of eight live-streamed discussions on transport and climate change with guest speakers representing organizations from both the public and private sector, including United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Deutsche Post DHL, and International Finance Corporation (IFC).
I helped organize the logistics and speakers for each of these shows, coordinate with the video production company, and promote each show on social media. I also supported the SLoCaT team’s efforts to promote the transport sector in the overall climate change dialogue via Twitter outreach, networking, and reporting.
What have you learned through this experience?
Being able to attend COP23 was a really great learning experience. I was able to see first hand how these global processes are actually carried out. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work alongside and learn from people who have dedicated their careers to environmental issues, and I am excited to continue focusing on furthering sustainable development.
Seeing the variety of ways people have approached climate change at COP23 served as a reminder that no matter where you are or what you work on, there is always a connection to climate change, and a diversity of experiences and approaches are needed.
While these overarching international agreements are crucially important, we should not forget that most progress towards combating climate change occurs on the local and individual level and it is our responsibility to make the conscious choice to live more sustainably each and every day.