I’m Karel Miranda. I’m 27 years old, and from the province of Chiriqui in Panama.
I grew up in a small rural town called Santa Clarita – surrounded by nature, between coffee plantations and forest. However as time went by, all of this changed and I started to worry about the situation. The climate is no longer as cool, there are not as many trees as before, and the landscape has totally changed. My concern led me to study Biology at University, where I first learned about climate change. That led me to want to know more about the subject, and from that, I found the UN CC:Learn platform.
I took the course “Introduction to Climate Change”, and it helped me to gain the basics on what climate change is, and to have a better understanding of this issue. Climate change is more than just an increase in global temperature. It is the biggest crisis facing humanity and includes all economic, social, and environmental sectors on the planet. The course helped me to see beyond an environmental problem, and to understand that we are all vulnerable – but also that some sectors, ecosystems and population are more vulnerable than others.
The course marked the beginning of a great action in my life. After enrolling I wanted to learn more, and to know where my own country stood in relation to this problem. This led me to apply and be selected to participate in the first Academy of Young Leaders on Climate Change in Panama, organized by the Ministry of Environment. Over the course of one week, I was able to learn how to lead initiatives to address climate change. At the end of the Academy, together with other young activists, we decided to form the Young People Facing Climate Change Organization of Panama. We have now established ourselves as the reference organization on climate change in our country. Our main pillar is education on climate change and citizen participation.
In 2020, the Young People Facing Climate Change Organization of Panama participated in the Climate Crisis and Water Forum, where we delivered a statement in which we call on all ministries, institutions and organizations in the country to work urgently and interconnectedly to address the climate emergency. The current COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped our work. In a virtual way, we are supporting the updating of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and the Climate Change Law of our country. Personally, the course has inspired me to lead a more sustainable life, and to form an organization that has allowed me to share what I had learned with others.
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Small steps can lead to impactful changes. Be inspired by our champions and start learning about climate change today through our e-learning platform www.unccelearn.org. After reading Karel’s story, you may be interested in starting taking the following courses: