Copenhagen, December 15—A few days ago, I arrived in Copenhagen for the international climate change conference (COP 15) filled with anticipation and excitement to be able take part in such a vital forum.  When I entered the premises, I was awed by the number of people and exhibits and the large amount of information on climate change that was available to anyone who wanted to stop, ask, and read.

As an intern with WEDO, my primary activity at the conference is to work at the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) booth and disseminate information on gender and climate change to interested by-passers.  As a result, I have had many interesting conversations with participants who were unaware of any connections between gender and climate change.

Growing up as a female in a third world country, I have seen first-hand the effects that environmental disasters have on women, and I am happy to explain to people the significant role of women in combating climate change.

Next year I will begin a graduate program in finance followed by an MBA degree in societal development. I have been lucky to take part in some interesting conference side events and group meetings that have helped me to link the subjects that I will be studying with the objective of working towards a healthy and sustainable environment.

On Saturday, I marched in a demonstration with approximately 100,000 activists from around the globe. During the march, we asked protesters about their reasons for coming to Copenhagen and their thoughts on how the conference has been unfolding.

We spoke to so many interesting people. One man travelled all the way from his village in Kenya with the hope of having his voice and that of his fellow citizens heard. He explained how changing weather conditions have led to a decrease in the number of cows he owns dramatically affecting his livelihood.

I was also interviewed during the demonstration about my own reasons for coming to COP 15. My overall experience of the march was that protesters were determined, unified, and cautiously hopeful. We walked for almost four hours in the cold among the masses, and it seemed so much more peaceful and harmonious to me than it was later portrayed in some media.

The high-level talks started on Tuesday and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have less access to the Bella centre where the conference is taking place. The outcome of these talks will determine the success or failure of this meeting, and I am desperately hoping for a deal which will be immediate and operational without neglecting the needs and required resources of the developing countries.

My experience at COP 15 has been amazing, informative, and educational. I anxiously await the outcome of these negotiations in the final four days.

Zoe Samson is an intern at the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO).

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