By Evy Vannoy, Program Associate, Meridian International Center
Climate change is a pressing and intricate problem that transcends geographical boundaries. It requires a collaborative effort from the global community as we share the responsibility to tackle this crisis, which has far-reaching consequences for the environment, economic progress, public health, and various other aspects of society. “The Climate Crisis: Working Together for Future Generations” Initative embodies the core principle of collaboration, gathering 66 climate advocates from over 57 nations to foster a worldwide network of knowledgeable individuals, facilitate the exchange of inventive solutions and concepts, and acquaint the participants with both public and private-sector mitigation endeavors in the United States.
Following two weeks of knowledge-sharing meetings in ten cities across the United States, the visitors convened in Miami, Florida, in March 2023 to share their takeaways from their unique experiences.
Throughout their time in the U.S., the visitors modeled what it means to be global citizens — caring about the varying experiences of their fellow participants and shouldering the challenge of countering climate change as a team. They may have originated from opposite ends of the world but ultimately demonstrated that the climate crisis is a threat that transcends borders, allowing them to dissolve the borders between themselves. This was clear when the participants started the week in Miami with a beach cleanup activity, where they joined the Clean Beach Miami volunteers to collect trash that littered Florida’s shoreline. This volunteer activity was a bonding experience for the diverse, multinational group.
All five regional groups developed presentations highlighting their key takeaways from the exchange, with a common thread being the need for greater education on the severity of climate change and promoting clear actions individuals can take to resist pollution across borders. This inter-regional sharing allowed all the groups to see how the different resources could support their work at home. It promoted further connections, such as an international pen recycling program or a global climate documentary. They not only had visions of how they would partner with contacts from their programmed meetings but also of how they planned to coordinate with each other to advance their shared goals of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, improving greenhouse gas inventory processes, and promoting international collaboration to find a solution toward climate change.
The beauty of international exchanges like this is they allow for creating of micro-communities amongst global industry leaders as ambassadors for their country and sector. The strength of this network can only speak to the potential for greater global collaboration and support going forward.
Evy Vannoy has been an IVLP Program Associate at Meridian International Center since May 2022. They hold a BA in International Affairs, Conflict Resolution from George Washington University and work on various programs focusing on anti-human trafficking, entrepreneurship, sustainability, and conflict resolution, among other topics.