Blog post

UN Youth Climate Summit: How New York is similar to Wageningen

Published on
October 1, 2019

Chosen as Youth Leader on Nature-Based Solutions, Amanda Krijgsman, researcher of Wageningen Environmental Research, was invited to represent Western Europe during the UN Youth Climate Summit in New York. There she found that ‘the empire state of mind’ in Wageningen is not so different from New York.

UN Youth Climate Summit: How New York is similar to Wageningen
Youth, parents, people, now actively stand up and demand their political leaders to act. And it is noticed.
Amanda Krijgsman, Youth Leader on Nature-Based Solutions

“You probably all heard the song the Empire State Of Mind from Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys once in your life. You know, how they catchy sing: ”New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there's nothin' you can't do”. Well, being in New York, marching for our climate, attending the UN Youth Summit and the UN Nature-Based Solutions Momentum, I’ve never seen the similarities between New York and Wageningen so clearly before.

UN Youth Climate Summit: How New York is similar to Wageningen

Last week New York was the world stage that desires to boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Looking back into history, there have been tons of high-level events like this, since the Club of Rome published their report The Limits to Growth in 1972. I question how these events have helped the world.

Lack of exchange of ideas and feedback

I am attending the UN Climate Summit, because Youth4Nature has selected me as ‘Youth leader on Nature-Based Solutions’. This was the first time that I attended an UN Summit. It felt impressive, also because the level of security is a bit intriguing, and also a bit strange. The meeting setup is as follows; every leader, from government, business and civil society, is asked to speak for 3 minutes. They basically explain what they are doing or planning to do about the topic of the meeting. What I noticed is that it is not really a meeting. There is no exchange of ideas or feedback.

Nonetheless I am optimistic about this Summit. For the first time, millions of people all over the world joint climate strikes and are raising their voices louder than ever before. Youth, parents, people, now actively stand up and demand their political leaders to act. And it is noticed.

Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, Karel van Oostrom. We talked about Nature Based Solutions as one of the key elements in countering consequences of climate change. And the cruciality of youth involvement in decision shaping and making: because it is also our future that the world “leaders” are discussing.
Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, Karel van Oostrom. We talked about Nature Based Solutions as one of the key elements in countering consequences of climate change. And the cruciality of youth involvement in decision shaping and making: because it is also our future that the world “leaders” are discussing.

Stand up, connect, share and act

That gives me the empire state of mind. The lights and streets in New York are exciting. But I found that, in Wageningen, I am in the empire state of mind all the time. There is this atmosphere that is so motivating to do something good for the world. The discussions that we have in Wageningen are inspiring. We can do more with this energy, our will and knowledge are so powerful! Please join me, my colleagues at Wageningen University & Research, Youth4Nature or others, and do something to combat this climate and ecological crisis. Stand up, connect, share your knowledge and ideas, and act. We are in this together and we need to continue to raise our voice.”