One of the biggest gatherings of world leaders just passed, and it may have been overlooked. A group of the world’s wealthiest countries met in France for the 45th Group of Seven Summit.
According to Time Magazine, The Group of Seven, or G7, is one of the lesser-known international organizations across the world. It involves the world’s wealthiest and financially prominent countries on Earth, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and Japan. Since 1973 they have met annually to discuss world politics and economics.
For the 45th annual meeting, the topics shifted away from politics. When the Summit’s members met in France this year climate change became a topic of discussion.
“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rainforest – the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis,” French President Emmanuel Macron stated in a tweet August 24th, the Summit’s first day of operations. He then called for the G7 to discuss this immediately and take action.
Climate change is new to the G7’s radar. With the rising concerns of global warming and pollution increasing all over the world, it became nearly integral that it would be discussed by the countries with the greatest power to provide aid. Not long after, President Macron proposed a $22 Million combined financial support toward the Amazon crisis. It is quite important to note that these topics are being discussed and thought over by the world. Talks have continued, according to France’s official website “Elysee” or “Elysium,” that suggest possible climate change aid elsewhere, not just toward the Amazon.
The G7 has not stopped there, however. With last year’s Summit in Canada is the first to bring up inequality and injustice, the topics have broadened.
“We owe an answer to all the women whose pay gap with men averages 23% worldwide,” a G7 France video entitled “Road to Biarritz!” said. “We owe an answer to the 783 million people who live below the poverty line, who suffer from hunger or chronic malnutrition, to those who don’t have access to basic care.” [You can watch the video at https://youtu.be/diFawcD8Je8.]
What is most amazing, however, is how under-the-radar G7 operates, especially to students. Generation Z, considered the most progressive and against the status quo, will ultimately deal with the issues being talked about in G7. Equality, climate change, and resource management are all long-term topics that Gen Z will deal with.
The lack of student awareness regarding the G7 Summit is fairly obvious. In a survey taken here at DVC, while about 28 percent of students said they followed global politics, only 7 percent said they knew how the G7 Summit worked. Exactly half of the students surveyed had not even heard of G7’s existence.
What is interesting, however, is that even though the awareness is low, the issues being talked about strike home with students nonetheless. In a short interview with Alex Jimenez, a junior at DVC, he explained what he thought a meeting between the world’s wealthiest countries should be about.
His idea fell right in line with one of the topics most debated in this year’s summit. “I’m sure they can hopefully talk about the homeless issue,” he said. “And at least trying to build…let’s say…public places that the homeless can access.”
Another junior, Marissa Markey, mentioned yet another issue brought up in the summit. “Climate change,” she said. “I feel like that’s something they could start with…I feel like there’s not much fighting about it. They could probably make a solution.”
With next year’s summit taking place here in the United States, we will pay close attention to how largely it can affect our society.