Inspiration from Peers, Not Leaders

As Obama addressed the plenary hall inside the Bella Center, many watched from outside since NGO’s had limited to no access to the center today. His speech echoed through the concrete hall while all stared in silence. Furrowed brows headlined the uncertain glances around the hall at friends and strangers.

Is this the same President that moved us all so deeply just one year ago?

Is this the same President that called for change and the hope of a new future?

These questions, among many others, flooded my brain as a straight-faced Obama recited a cold, political speech that lacked his trademark hope, optimism, inspiration and humanity. The very traits that got him elected seemed to be buried underneath political goals and selfish motives. To his defense, his administration has done so much more than the previous. Yet today, a day that we all secretly (or publicly) hoped would bring a silver lining to the difficult and sometime dismal negotiations, we were left with seemingly empty words.

The moment that instilled great hope, passion and inspiration came from our peer; Juan Carlos is a native to Peru and is here with the SustainUS US delegation. He has been working hard and spent last night in the Bella Center with the other three youth that obtained access. His speech today, written in collaboration with the International Youth Climate Movement speaks to humanity across the globe, demands action and has moved me to continue forward.


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