Zach Hough Solomon: Historic Negotiations Creating a More Equitable Future

I am very excited to be a part of a group of Michigan Technological University students attending the United Nations COP27. In my mind, and for many other young people, I view these historic negotiations for younger generations to work towards sustainable development that will create a more equitable future for all.  

Zach Hough Solomon
Michigan Tech Enironmental and Energy Policy master’s student Zach Hough Solomon

Different Perspectives From Different Regions

Throughout the semester, all of the students in the course Climate Science and Policy have been studying these negotiations – including the history of climate policymaking and how the different institutions function. As well, we have been learning about how science is used to make decisions and adapt at the global level. Personally, I am excited to be traveling from the Great Lakes region, a relatively remote area, to represent the region where we live and study on the global stage.

This perspective also reminds me that all these other scientists and policymakers are traveling from different places. Each with unique ecosystems and visions for the future. This aspect of different communities traveling from all over the world is exciting to see how differently we will perceive the events and Sharm El-Sheikh Egypt, as a whole. Traveling from the Great Lakes region, which contains 20% of the world’s freshwater resources and vast forest systems, the lands will be very different from where we live, and an opportunity to return with a greater appreciation for the global importance of where we live and steward.

Amplifying the Diversity of Knowledge to Create an Equitable Future

I am looking forward to meeting other people and learning about the lands they come from, and the different ways they conserve and study them. With some fellow students, we will be hosting a capacity-building hub event at COP27. The event amplifys the diversity of knowledge from local peoples to better understand climate adaptation. The panel will describe local knowledge production, its uses, and how it can be implemented. Then this will transition to open the event to participants from COP27 to provide insights into how local knowledge should and has informed climate adaptation. 

This is the main focus of why I wanted to travel to COP27 – to learn from as many people as possible about building equitable and resilient futures, and share with others the work we are doing in the Great Lakes. I am hoping to build momentum for those working on community-level adaptation that can empower other organizations to work strategically and contextually.

This post was written by Zach Hough Solomon, who is attending COP 27 as part of a delegation led by Sarah Green and the Youth Environmental Alliance in Higher Education (YEAH) Network. YEAH is a transdisciplinary, multi-institutional network that equips students with real-world experience of collaborative, evidence-based approaches to global environmental sustainability. Zach is among more than 35,000 attendees at the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP27). The annual summit is the largest climate-change-focused event in the world. He is an Environmental & Energy Policy graduate student at Michigan Technological University.