A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to join a delegation of climate activists from across the globe to speak at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in New York.
This was a rare chance to get inside the mind of the delegates, and the meeting was filled with intrigue.
I had never been to one of these gatherings before.
It was the first time I’d seen the organizers of the United States’ COP21, the conference that began in Marrakech, Morocco, in November.
But I’d been hearing about it from people I’d never met before.
And this was the perfect opportunity to ask: Why is the United Kingdom not at the table?
“You should have been there,” I said.
“It’s a great idea,” said one of the activists, a British woman named Mary, as we spoke in a room on the third floor of the New York Hilton Hotel, surrounded by photos of the conference’s participants.
“But the British people are not interested.”
“I don’t know,” she continued.
“We were invited because of the UK.”
A few days later, I emailed a couple of the organizers asking if they had any suggestions for how the United states could be included.
They responded that the United Nation was planning to send a delegation to Morocco, which was an idea I was eager to explore.
We talked a little bit more and, after some back and forth, we decided that I should make an exception.
In the end, I didn’t know if I wanted to do anything else.
But it felt good to have an opportunity to say something, so I took it.
When the conference came to a close, I had a chance to meet with some of the attendees, who were all in their twenties and thirties.
Some were very excited about participating.
Some of them were older.
Others seemed like they had no idea how to handle this climate change conversation, which had been going on for decades.
For me, the most exciting thing about the conference was hearing from young people who were really excited about the climate change issue, who wanted to learn about it and to contribute to it.
They were very enthusiastic about participating, and I was able to connect with some who were even younger.
It was amazing.
But the young people didn’t all speak English.
The youngest were from the Philippines.
Some had just come out of high school.
They spoke English, but they also didn’t understand how to read the language, or how to use the language to communicate.
And they were the ones who were the most likely to say that climate change was a big problem, and that we needed to do something about it.
We needed to take action, and we needed them to learn how to do that.
I didn´t know if they understood how important this issue was to them, but I knew they would listen.
The activists who were here for the conference were so excited to be a part of COP21 because of their knowledge and the way they were using the technology to communicate with the public.
At first, I wasn’t too concerned about this group of young people.
I thought they were going to be fine.
They seemed to be having a good time, and they had a good attitude.
But after a while, I started thinking that this was going to become a problem.
One of the women who was in charge of organizing the conference said, “We need to do our best to be more welcoming of our young people.”
She had a few words of advice for me.
She said that we need to be much more positive about our young attendees, and make it clear that we want them to come and experience the conference as a group.
“I want to invite all of you to go to Morocco,” she said.
“There will be a climate summit there.”
I was excited to meet so many of the young, educated people I had met at COPs and other events.
And I knew that they were ready to do whatever it took to change the world.
So I said, I want to see if I can help.
What I needed to know was if they would be willing to go and participate in a climate change summit.
A couple of days later I was in the hotel lobby talking to a group of people who had traveled from the United Arab Emirates to the United State for the COP21.
I was interested in what they were telling me.
My first impression was that they felt like they were being taken advantage of by the climate-change skeptics who were present.
I asked if I could talk to one or two of the leaders of these young people, but this wasn’t the type of thing that a politician would want to do.
But one of them said that she was willing to meet me.
I introduced myself, and she invited me to join her.
We spoke for a couple hours, and