Since enrolling in UCF’s Environmental Politics program, Christine Dellert has traveled to South America in search of “greener” practices and ways of living. Now, the 26-year-old researcher will fight for solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change at this year’s United Nations negotiations in Mexico.

Dellert was selected from applicants across the country to represent U.S. youth at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Copenhagen last year. She’ll be traveling with about 20 other delegates from SustainUS, a volunteer-led youth organization for sustainable development. Dellert is the only Floridian on the delegation.

“Addressing the impacts caused by climate change is the greatest challenge of our day,” Dellert said. “As young people, it’s our responsibility to step up and seek solutions. We’re fighting for our future and the futures of generations to come.”

While at the UN conference, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, Dellert will work with about 1,000 young people from more than 75 countries to press international leaders for fair and equitable solutions to global climate problems. Dellert also says she’s going to represent the University of Central Florida and the state’s interest in creating more green jobs and protecting coastal communities.

Dellert, a native of St. Petersburg who graduated from UCF in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, returned to UCF a year and a half later to work and pursue a graduate degree in Environmental Politics, focusing on ways that people can lead environmentally mindful lives in Central Florida and beyond.

“People need to understand that climate change isn’t some faraway threat,” Dellert adds. “Millions of Floridians are going to be impacted by rising sea levels and more hurricanes.

“But we still have a chance to take control of our own futures in the form of renewable energy jobs and by making development decisions that won’t further damage the state’s sensitive ecosystems.”

Dellert says she’s interested in hearing from other local environmental groups to make sure their concerns will be represented during the UN negotiations. Interested parties should e-mail her at [email protected].

About the UN conference: The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was created in 1992 to solve the problem of rising greenhouse gas emissions and its effects on development. Negotiators from 194 countries will meet in Mexico this year to continue negotiations after Copenhagen and attempt to repair an 18-year-old international system fraught with inequities. They have the grave responsibility of deciding the fate of the world’s two billion young people in the face of catastrophic environmental degradation.

About SustainUS: SustainUS is a national volunteer-based youth organization that empowers young people to create a more sustainable world through involvement in international summits and grassroots activities. Through its Agents of Change program, U.S. youth have the opportunity to participate in several UN conferences, including the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Commission on Sustainable Development and the Commission on Social Development. Learn more at http://sustainus.org/.