Behind The Paris Climate Conference with National Geographic Explorers

The annual "Conference of the Parties" (COP) is not as lighthearted as it sounds. It is famously one of the most difficult attempts at intergovernmental cooperation on Earth. This year's agreement on commitments for climate change mitigation and adaptation has taken many months and even years to formulate and gather all the support it needed. For a few days before COP though, as there has been for the past decade, there was the Conference of Youth. Here, without the onus of getting nearly 200 countries to agree on something, there was much more of a spirit of challenge, inspiration, and even celebration.

Eight young National Geographic explorers were among the roughly 5,000 people participating, and they gave presentations, led discussions, and explored new ideas about how we can change our behaviors and technologies to have less of an impact on the climate, and how we can start building infrastructure today for the ways the world will change in the coming years. More than just a rally for green-minded young people, this was a forum to engage directly with explorers presenting real research in conservation, sustainability, and renewable energy.

These are serious issues and the stakes are high, but as you can see in the video above, the younger generation is energized by the challenge and having a blast doing research, developing ideas, and working on real world solutions. (Watch: What the World's Youth Wants From Paris Climate Talks)

Get to know our explorers at the links below and be part of the conversation on Twitter using #COY11 and #coolit

Andrés Ruzo, Geophysicist
Mikayla Wujec, Environmental Scientist
Kevin McLean, Ecologist
Erika Bergman, Chemical Oceanographer
Alizé Carrère, Anthro-Ecologist
Leslie Dewan, Nuclear Engineer
Asher Jay, Creative Conservationist
Laurel Chor, Multimedia Storyteller