December 18, 2009

Joint US-Kenya Youth Press Statement

We just sent out our joint press statement with the US youth. Here it is in full:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                            Contact:
Friday, December 18, 2009                                                               Lisa Curtis, +45 52 68 76 12
Maya Sikand, +45 50 37 39 29
Copenhagen, Denmark--Yesterday afternoon, young people from the United States and Kenya gathered with hundreds of letters from their respective countries expressing their hopes for President Obama’s leadership on climate change. The letters will be delivered to the president in the next few days.  
The Kenyan delegation brought children’s drawings from Barrack Obama Primary School in Kogelo, Obama’s paternal village and the American youth brought letters collected from schools in the Midwest. 
“Kenya is your ancestral land and the United States is your home,” said U.S. youth delegate Erin O’Sullivan. “We represent your past and present, and your actions shape our future.”
A Kenyan youth from the Maasai tribe, James Laiboni, said that he had lost almost half of his cattle in the last few months due to heavy floods followed by extreme heat. As the rest of the Kenyan youth delegation related, Laiboni’s story is being repeated across Africa. Climate change is already destroying livelihoods and lives.
Danielle Ostafinski from Berkley, Michigan told the story of her father, a union electrician who hasn’t been able to find work for the past two years. “There have been times when we’ve been close to losing our health care and house. My mom died a while ago, so it’s only him. He wants a green job, and he wants to keep working for his family. Passing domestic legislation would stimulate the Michigan economy, give him a job again, and give me hope.”
With this joint statement and hundreds of letters from both nations, the youth ask that President Obama use all of his power to forge a strong and just treaty in Copenhagen, get the world on track to the 350ppm of CO2 that science demands, and ensure that developing countries like Kenya are given the support they need to face the climate crisis. 
Modrine Alumasa, a Kenyan youth delegate said, “We ask President Obama to please remember the voices of the youth, for the sake of those who wrote these letters, and for his own Sasha and Malia.”

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