Youth action frames the conversation at the UNFCCC in Poznan, Poland

Young people from around the world made their voice heard today at the UN Framework Convention on Climate change in Poznan, Poland. After an inspiring speech from Al Gore, over 200 young people from India to the U.S. to the Congo held a spontaneous action inside, with banners that read “SURVIVAL IS NON-NEGOTIABLE.”

The demonstration was the next step in our “project survival” – inspired by a speech earlier this week by a representative from the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), stating that current emissions targets set by powerful countries condemn their nations to extinction. In the last two days youth have mobilized to get over 80 country delegations to sign a pledge to “safeguard the survival of all peoples and nations.” Youth organized actions, tracked down delegates in the halls, lined the entrance to the plenaries, and knocked on meeting room doors to push their countries to sign the Survival Pledge. This morning our text has been adopted in the official UN Ministerial declaration document emerging from COP14, the COP President’s text on long-term vision. Heads of state referenced our call in major speeches. “It’s been an amazing success,” said Amanda McKenzie, of the Australian Youth Climate Network. “Hearing Australia’s Climate Minister Penny Wong commit to ‘survival’ yesterday had me cheering in the halls. Now, it’s time to make sure she delivers.”

Actions like the one that happened 15 minutes ago aim to create the pressure to do just that. At the end of our action (after engaging with some angry UN people) several delegates and dignitaries came to thank the Youth for their action. A woman said “I am in a very high position in my government in Norway. Youth doing actions like this makes my work easier. Thank you.”

We’ve had an exciting victory, but we know we must continue to organize to make the implications of that statement meaningful – we know that any targets less than 350ppm will not insure the survival of all peoples and nations, and we know that any solution that is not equitable and just, is no solution at all.

Click below for many more photos and reflections.

While our demonstration today was not permitted by the United Nations, young people felt compelled to step outside the boundaries of rules and etiquette to ensure that the main message emerging from COP14 is one of SURVIVAL. We will continue to work year round, taking on this generational challenge.

the media reacting to us:

Photos by Shadia Fayne Wood, Ben Powless, Robert VanWaarden, and Joshua Kahn Russell.

for more photos see:


  1. 1 benka Dec 12th, 2008 at 11:08 am
  2. 2 Ted Glick Dec 12th, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of the young people who took part in this important campaign.

    Ted Glick

  3. 3 Gabriel Elsner Dec 12th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I couldn’t have said it any better than Ted.

    Thank you!

    See you in Copenhagen!


  4. 4 alex Dec 13th, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    wooo!!! awesome

  5. 5 bill mckibben Dec 14th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    This was a highlight! And it mattered–getting survival on the table will help change the course of the negotiations.

  6. 6 tatiana Dec 29th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Very impressed and thankful. See you in Copenhagen!

  1. 1 Remembering Seattle, 9 years later - and looking toward the future. « Aid & Abet Trackback on Dec 12th, 2008 at 4:06 pm
  2. 2 Video: SURVIVAL IS NON-NEGOTIABLE « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Dec 13th, 2008 at 9:07 am
  3. 3 SURVIVAL IS NON-NEGOTIABLE- A Pledge — Climate Today Trackback on Jan 6th, 2009 at 11:56 am
  4. 4 Unmasking the Beast: from Gaza to Oakland to Tennessee « praxis makes perfect. Trackback on Jan 14th, 2009 at 10:09 pm
  5. 5 blogSanity » Report on Project Survival Protest at 2008 UN Climate Conference, Poznan, Poland Trackback on Apr 6th, 2009 at 12:45 am
  6. 6 blogSanity Trackback on Apr 6th, 2009 at 12:56 am
  7. 7 Lets Talk About Climate, Baby! « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Jun 16th, 2009 at 6:08 am
  8. 8 Top 10 Youth Climate Moments of the ’00s « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Dec 27th, 2009 at 3:52 pm
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About Joshua Kahn

Joshua Kahn Russell is an organizer serving movements for social justice and ecological balance. He is an action coordinator, facilitator, & trainer with the Ruckus Society, and has trained thousands of activists. He has helped win campaigns against banks, oil companies, logging corporations, and coal barons; worked with a wide variety of groups in a breadth of arenas, from local resiliency projects, to national coalitions, to the United Nations Climate Negotiations. He has authored chapters for numerous books, most recently The Next Eco-Warriors. His articles have appeared in Yes! magazine, Left Turn, PeaceWork magazine, Upping the Anti, and Z Magazine. His blog is and you can follow him on Twitter at @joshkahnrussell For a full bio see:

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