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Young People Negotiate Copenhagen Deal Using Google Wave

by Adam Vaughan

The Global Youth Panel is a team of more than 1,000 young people from 140 countries analysing events in Copenhagen

Among the millions of people scrutinising the final week of Copenhagen, more than a thousand of them will be analysing events using an particularly innovative online approach. The Global Youth Panel is a team of more than 1,000 young people from 140 countries who are using Google's much-hyped communication tool Wave to virtually collaborate on a climate change debate.

Access didn't come easy to some of those participating in the online debate between 15 to 25 year olds around the world. The Global Youth Panel has some inspiring stories from Iranian debaters who bypassed web censoring software and a Bhutan who team persuaded their ISP to offer extra bandwidth. Meanwhile a coordinator in Cambodia gave IT training to 30 kids from "some of the poorest, most destitute families in Cambodia" so they could take part.

Last night, the young panellists were discussing whether protests, such as those at the weekend when more than 1,000 people were arrested, would have any effect on the negotiations. Debate was split from participants who said "if we want to see real meaningful change, we need people to organise, and engage in direct actions" to those who countered that "the immense demonstrations against the Iraq war are, despite their size, an example of protests having very little effect."

In the past week, they've also used Wave to discuss the likelihood of a successful deal (60% thought there would be) to whether the hacking of climate scientists' emails would influence the talks (a surprising 64% said yes, despite , in which online users cooperated in creating a set of demands to politicians at Copenhagen. The final text involved 32 people and 41 editing versions.

But why use Wave rather than, say, email or Wiki-style software? David Crane of Debatewise, which organised the youth panel, says "there's no way we could get this many people debating in real-time otherwise." He also points to Wave's real-time typing feature as being useful for such a fast-changing event as Copenhagen, because it makes it easy to answer a question before it's fully typed.

Google Wave's co-founder Lars Rasmussen is unsurprisingly "delighted" at this use of his service, and says he hopes Wave can continue to help "tackle important global issues like climate change across geographies and cultures."

Of course, what would be truly innovative is if delegates, governments and the UN started adopting some of these web tools. Such virtual collaboration might go some way to countering criticism that the climate talks are excessive over-peopled jollies, not to mention trimming Copenhagen's estimated 41,000 tonne carbon footprint.

This piece originally appeared in

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Thanks Adam,

So glad to learn from your report about this emergent effort to help make sense = simply via good conversation = out of the massively complex global mess* that today's youth are now inheriting.

* =

Lately, various folks have acknowledged to me that our realm of public discourse (particularly here in the good ol' "U. S. of A.") seems to be at least as polluted as our Earth's atmosphere.

This work of the Global Youth Panel promises to help reduce both sorts of pollution = excessive B. S. destabilizing our societal climate as well as CO2 waste, methane releases, etc. destabilizing our biophysical climate.

Embracing both challenges is necessary. It's good to know more young folks all around the surface of our globe are earnestly rising to this occasion/equation.

Ciao for now,


Posted by: paul t. horan on 16 Dec 09

Google wave is a great tool. I wonder when it will be released to the general public.

"I am here to serve."
The Window Man

Posted by: The Window Man on 17 Dec 09

does anyone think porn is the only business still thriving during the credit cruch? I think many folks seek refuge in buying and wanking porn during the crunch

Posted by: smellydoze on 4 Jan 10

Great stuff! Anyone interested in young people working on *health and climate links* should check out climate change is a health issue!

Posted by: feliduca on 23 Jul 10

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