Naomi Parr
Naomi Parr

U-M student among young leaders attending United Nations Climate Change conference.

A group of young Jewish leaders from across the country, including a Michigan native, are traveling to the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt from Nov. 6-18.

The 10 young leaders have been involved with Hazon’s Jewish Youth Climate Movement (JYCM) since high school and are now in college.

Prior to attending the conference, they’ll be spending time in Israel meeting with Israeli peers involved in environmental stewardship and activism — then traveling together to Egypt.

Detroit native, University of Michigan student and JYCM College Fellow Naomi Parr is one of the young leaders taking part.

Parr studies archaeology with a minor in playwriting and sees these subjects as parallel avenues for her greater passion: storytelling in all forms. Storytelling, she believes, is especially applicable to the politics of climate justice. This, coupled with her passion for sustainable food systems, has motivated her environmental involvement.

“When we’re in Israel, we’re going to be touring it through an ecological perspective as opposed to your typical religious or tourist highlight kind of tour,” Parr said. “We’re going to be looking at a little bit of environmental activism between Israeli-Palestinian groups and also a lot of groups that sort of cross those divisions there.”

The young leaders will be visiting the Dead Sea and taking part in discussions about environmental topics going on there. They’ll be visiting the Arava Institute, an Israeli environmental organization, and possibly going camping in the Negev. Then, they’re off to Egypt for COP27.

“There will be different interfaith organizations we meet up with, educational trainings we attend and really prolific speakers that I’m so excited to hear talk,” Parr said. “It’s an overwhelmingly educated and qualified group of people and it’s exciting that this many people can be in one place, thinking and talking about the same things and have the opportunity to create the kind of change we so desperately need. I’m just excited to learn.”
Parr was on the JYCM founding board as a high school sophomore. She’s also served as the director of creative arts and writing for JYCM.

“I’m very passionate about the human angle of who is being affected and how we can mitigate that and try to bring equity more into the picture,” Parr said. “I’m also passionate about sharing people’s stories. I think a lot of my connection to climate activism has centered around knowing it’s such an urgent issue, and I think stories are the way to unlock that human empathy that makes people understand it’s time to take action.”

Liana Rothman, director of JYCM, said, “We’re so excited for Naomi to be representing Michigan and Michigan Jews as part of this trip. It’s a huge opportunity to be able to provide this, and we’re really hoping the trip will catalyze connections and relationships between our JYCM leaders and other Jewish climate leaders across the country and world.”

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