A storm which flooded our tents at the World Youth Congress in Rio suddenly became the symbol of why we have gathered.
World Youth Congress has literally started with a bang! Storm and rain practically drowned the youth congress tent area during the night. No one was seriously injured and everything has calmed down, but the flooded tents ended up becoming - in a rather unexpected way - an igniting image of some of the themes of the Congress is going to be about.
Conversations quickly turned to climate change. The young people who asked, wondering why noone thought about securing the camp against the storm, got to know that that nights strong wind had been very unusual - especially at this time of year. Whether climate change, which leads to more extreme weather, was the reason is difficult to say, but the experience kickstarted our thoughts and discussions in the international forum.
The flooded tents were a picture of the challenges many people in the world face every day
The flooded tents were a picture of the challenges many people in the world face every day. Every day thousands of people live in much more precarious situations than the one we were put in, when the rain hit us. They can not choose to say stop and take off and there will be noone around to give them better conditions.
In many ways the flooded tents became a symbol of what the Congress here, Rio +20 and the whole sustainability debate is about: to create a safe future for all. After a day of workshops and debates many good perspectives on which role youth can play in creating a more sustainable future has already come up. In particular, the need for urgent action was emphasized.