#Decarbonize Global Youth Whitepaper

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Prologue On November 13, 2015, over 200 high school student leaders, representing fourteen nations from six continents, in partnership with The Centre for Global Education and TakingITGlobal, came together in a Global Virtual Town Hall to discuss the youth's vision for the future of their planet given the reality of Climate Change. From Accra to Alberta, Stockholm to South Africa, the youth exchanged ideas, debated alternatives, and ultimately created a document that represents their voice on the relationship our species should have with the planet we all call home. The Global Virtual Town Hall, an "archetype of grassroots democracy," (Senator Grant Mitchell, Canada) was the culmination of over two months of online teamwork, 25,000 hours of student collaboration, and the passion of over 10,000 youth to engage in a global conversation and have their voices heard. In the two months prior to the Virtual Town Hall, student leaders, systematically chosen to represent our planet's diverse populations, collaborated on a weekly basis to exchange ideas, work with and listen to experts, and create a common framework. Concurrently, the students were equipped to use an arsenal of Web 2.0 tools (YouTube, Twitter, cell phone voting, Google Docs, H.323 Video Conference, discussion boards, blogs, etc.) to collaborate, build consensus, and create community regardless of time or location. Starting with a National Dialogue, in which individual schools consulted their own nations, countries were then engaged in a Bilateral Collaboration, in which Global North and South schools were partnered to address key concerns transitioning to a post-carbon society. This was followed by a series of collaborations in which countries were encouraged to wrestle through these critical issues, in increasingly large groups, in the effort to build global consensus over the two month period of time. The Global Youth White Paper on Climate Change, written collaboratively by students all across the globe, is the direct result of these interactive and collaborative projects. The evolution of the document involved equipping leaders with knowledge and technology, having those leaders facilitate a larger conversation among their peers, locally and globally, taking the data generated to their community at large for feedback and direction, and then synthesizing the results in the student white paper. It represents the voices of over ten thousand youth, introduced to the complexities of climate change, unified through the power of 21st century technology, and sharing a passion to contribute to the dialogue taking place on the future of our planet given the critical reality of climate change. Although consensus was not always achieved, the planet came together to work, share, and envision a new sustainable planet.

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