The use of corn instead of gas and oil was one of the energy alternatives discussed. What about hydrogen, nuclear fusion and nuclear fission? There was also a debate about the different types of wind and solar power possibilities, discussion lead by the students for their fellow students.
The young people expressed concern with regards to the substantiality of these alternative energies: "What are we going to do at the end of the day with all of the waste produced by them?" they questioned. One of the youngsters pointed out that there were a number of dangerous nuclear waste sites in the US alone, awaiting disposal. "Where do you dump all of it? What does it mean for the environment in the future?" he asked. These students were very worried about environmental issues and the future of our planet.
In the afternoon, a roundtable brought together experts from various institutions to talk about alternative energies. On the panel were Ms. Agathe Weber of the Polar Foundation, Mr. Pascal Peduzzi of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Mr. Luc Job, Association for the Development of Renewable Energies (ADER), Ms. Jacqueline CotÃ©, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Dr. Beat Von Scarpatetti, Transatlantic 21, as well as Mr. Damien Sidler of Services Industriels de GenÃ¨ve (SIG), who brought some interesting statistics about the energy consumption in the State of Geneva which is covered only 27% by the energy resources available in the canton. The rest comes from Valais and also from neighboring France and even from Belgium.
The aim of the Earth Focus debates is to raise awareness and responsibility of young people towards issues of today's world; thus allowing them to actively take part in an open discussion where each one has a role. They were co-organized by Earth Focus Foundation (www.earthfocus.org), a Foundation focusing on environmental education for young people, and ICVolunteers (www.icvolunteers.org), an international volunteer organization working with a network of over 9000 individuals, volunteers and partners around the world.
The final message prepared by the students of CollÃ¨ge du LÃ©man, Ecole Internationale - three campuses, the CollÃ¨ge AndÃ© Chavanne, CollÃ¨ge Rousseau, Deutsche Schule, two visiting students from Aga Khan Academy of Mombasa, Kenya, approved by the assembly puts things very clearly: "We the youth of today firmly believe that to overcome our energy problems we need to move from using fossil fuels to renewable and more sustainable energies in order to maintain a stable environment and to ensure the future of our planet."
It goes well with the message for the International Volunteer Day, 5 December 2007, of Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, who recalls that the world's Governments are meeting in Bali, Indonesia, at this very moment to discuss climate change. In his message, Ban Ki-Moon stresses the important role of volunteers as a key actor in many areas, including the environment and the fight against climate change: "...Governments cannot hope to [succeed] alone. Instead, we need people everywhere to volunteer for this challenge, and to help communities mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change."
This volunteer effort starts small, at the local level, giving a hand, joining in hands... this is the message given by the young people gathered at this youth fuel debate and the photo message sent at the occasion of the International Volunteer Day.
See photos of the event: