This morning I participated in a global linkup of students from Opotiki and from Linwood College, Rangi Ruru Girl’s College, Christ’s College and Shirley Intermediate in Christchurch to discuss the effects of climate change on indigenous peoples. We were linked with others from Alaska, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, the Arctic and USA in the video conference which was organised at the NZ end by CORE Education together with Canadian social networking organisation TakingITGlobal.
This all came to pass after I began corresponding with Terry Godwaldt after reading reference to his work on a blog post. I was impressed with what Terry is doing to engage students in thinking about global issues – and his global reach video conferencing projects seemed a great way to get New Zealand students involved.
For today’s conference we were privileged to have Karamea Insley (presenting in the photo above) presenting from Opotiki, providing a Maori perspective on the topic of climate change. Karamea is part of the New Zealand international negotiations team to the United Nations and has been a key player in the Omaio Kaitiakitanga project near Opotiki. Karamea was joined by a group of students from Opotiki who shared about their initiative, Kaitiakitanga | Caring for our Lands & Foreshore, to conserve the coastal environment at Omaio. Students on the conference were quick to visit the Kaitiakitanga Facebook page to read more as soon as the conference was concluded,
The event confirmed for me the huge benefits provided by modern technologies to connect young people across the globe to participate in discussions about real and meaningful issues. For a young person the problems of the world can often appear simply too big and too difficult to solve – but connecting in this way can open new opportunities for thinking about the solutions that exist and the part that all of us can play in achieving them. As one of the students at the conclusion of the conference commented, “this conference has demonstrated to me that there are a lot of people out there who care – and we need to keep sharing and communicating so we can do something about it!”
View the news item filmed for Maori TV here.