On Sept. 14, minister Dave Wasserman led a World Climate Change Simulation for 60 adults and teens at University of New Mexico-Bataan Hall in Taos. This simulation has been played …
On Sept. 14, minister Dave Wasserman led a World Climate Change Simulation for 60 adults and teens at University of New Mexico-Bataan Hall in Taos. This simulation has been played in 88 countries and with 66,000 people.
The goal of this event was to bring awareness of climate change and to challenge the participants to understand the perspectives of different governments and people. By providing participants the chance to be part of mock-negotiations similar to the United Nations climate change negotiations, the simulation opened the participants' minds to the challenges of crafting agreements between people and countries with different viewpoints and find ways to lower the effects of climate change.
Participants were assigned to tables, each representing a different country or special interest group such as the fossil fuel industry. The simulation began with retired scientist Bill Brown's presentation on climate change. Then participants had time to discuss what their country needed to be able to make a difference in overall climate change.
Next, the countries held negotiations with one another. For example, a developing country that needed money to pursue clean energy projects or protect forests went to a wealthier country to negotiate for financial help. Finally, each country's team filled out a commitment form and that information was entered into a free online program, climateinteractive.org, to see how each country would affect our climate.
In an effort to show the large disparity between developed and developing countries, participants were provided pitchers of water at their tables, but the size of the cups were different. Wasserman explained that the size of the cups was chosen depending on inequalities that each country faces. For example, America had large water cups while the group representing the developing countries had tiny shot-sized water cups.
After the simulation was completed, all participants walked away with a list of resources for more information and a list of local organizations to volunteer or support. One of the participants, Brooke Zanettell, noted, "The good news is that since we are part of the problem, and it's a simple problem of just adding carbon dioxide molecules to the air, then we can take actions, make policies, and make changes so we stop."
One of the teen participants, Amy Lewis, a senior at Taos High School, who played an advocate for the fossil fuel industry, learned that "it's possible to negotiate solutions even when you are the 'bad guy' if other people are determined enough to make a transition to renewable energy."
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