Colorado State University is part of the international climate talks. About a dozen CSU students are in Madrid, Spain for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, participating in the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25).
For the past year, senior Tamera Breidenbach has researched the ecology and public policy of wetlands and state water law. She was part of the group that presented a research project for the climate action development goal. They discussed adaptations in the mountains and looked at different strategies that people around the world use to address climate change through climate action.
The event, said Breidenbach, was one of her most influential college experiences. She believes her generation is really interested in creating changes that aren't happening fast enough.
"Being able to come here and experience the COP, and see how negotiations and conferences and how all the different players work together is really important, and puts in perspective how to work within that environment," she said.
Claire Carver is finishing a master's degree in Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting. Attending the conference has been a "really wild experience," she said, but also very comfortable.
"You are surrounded by 25,000 people that also not necessarily speak the exact same language as you," Carver said. "But are speaking within the same context and within the same common goals."
Carver and her group presented for the gender equality goal. They looked at campus initiatives which included CSU's graduate student parental leave policy and all-gender restrooms.
The CSU students also attended other conference events and presentations. Carver noted that the conversations extended beyond climate to encompass other social and equity issues.
"We're not going to necessarily address climate change if we don't underdress some of these underlying vulnerabilities and the drivers of it," she said. "So, working towards ... a true solution will require tackling some of these social injustices that are occurring right now and that will really lead to an enduring, sustainable future."
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the name of Michigan Technological University.