Come As You Are, Bring What You Have

Francis Bangoy

‘At some point in our lives we have lost something, whether it be family, friends or property and we want to know what’s going on in the world. Why was that storm so strong that it killed thousands of families?’

This is Francis. He's from Tacloban in the Philippines but I met him in an airport hangar/convention centre on the outskirts of Paris where he was representing young people who had survived Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

‘Climate change is really important to us and that’s why we came here.’

That industrial convention centre was a holding pen in December 2015 for a few thousand young earth defenders and activists like Francis. That's the very nature of The Annual Conference of Youth (COY). It's a space where, for a few days each year, young activists come together to creatively share solutions, visions, insight and knowledge on the earth’s current state and its predicted future. A youthful prelude to the annual Conference Of the Parties (COP) held by the UN in order to talk all things climate.

‘Young people, for me, symbolise innocence. When young people give their voice it’s not tainted with the worldly factors that govern the system. The voice of youth is very genuine and we hope that the government, the administrators, the system that we have right now hear from it. Young people just wants a world to live in that’s harmonious, that’s sustainable.’

Amen to that Francis. Amen to that.

Francis is part of LEYTEam, a youth led organisation in the Leyte region of the Philippines whose aim is to use advocacy to rebuild the region. He's literally lived through the wild and disastrous impact of climate change and because you can't live unchanged by experiences like that, he's doing something about it.