Youth Climate Action Camp
50 jongeren, 6 landen, 1 missie
40 jonge klimaatactivisten uit Australië, België, Bosnië, Nederland, Denemarken, Duitsland, Italië, Zweden, het Verenigd Koninkrijk, Slovakije en de Verenigde Staten overhandigden op 30 oktober “KliMaat”-planten aan de EU-commissarissen die voor de komende vijf jaar zijn aangeduid. In een open brief uiten vertegenwoordigers van Youth for Climate, Fridays for Future en Extinction Rebellion Youth zowel hun hoop voor de toekomst als hun teleurstelling en frustraties na meer dan een jaar protest.
Dear Commissioners of European Commission
We are young climate activists from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, Italy and the UK. We’re all part of different climate movements, including Fridays For Future, Extinction Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion Youth and Youth for Climate. We are working through our autumn holiday here in Brussels to make international bonds and to mobilise the climate movement. This should not be our responsibility, but four decades of climate denial and 8 sets of EU commissions, which have all failed to make necessary decisions, have forced us to give up our childhood, strike and engage in civil disobedience in order for you to act.
“What do you want to be when you grow up? “ That's the question that everybody gets asked as a child. Some of us dreamed of becoming doctors, some policemen or even astronauts. However, climate breakdown has stolen our dreams and our futures. We dreamed of seeing the rainforests, the coral reefs, the polar bears in the Arctic. Today, we have to wonder whether they will even exist for our children to see.
We are the youth of today, the society of tomorrow, and we are the ones to bear the consequences of what you decide today. We are afraid for our future in this burning world you have left for us to live in. What’s the point of envisioning our future when its existence is in jeopardy? If you are taking the Paris agreement seriously and if you are taking the biggest threat to our human civilization seriously, you must take note of what the scientists are saying and finally start acting. You are not only responsible for what you do but also for what you refuse to do, and this ignorance will be our death sentence. Genuine climate action is undeniably necessary since we cannot solve this crisis without treating it as exactly that: a crisis.
It is absolutely paramount that we remain under the line of 1.5°C global mean temperature increase, after which we will reach a tipping point of no return. If we fail to make the drastic systematic changes necessary to remain under this line, horrible consequences are waiting around the corner. We’re living through a mass extinction, losing up to 200 species every day, and we’re running out of time. The consequences of the climate crisis are already being felt, especially in the Global South. The Amazon - one of the most humid places on earth - is burning; the Arctic - one of the coldest places on earth - is burning; marine life is dying; droughts in the Global South are causing starvation; and hurricanes and floods are becoming more and more common. It is vital for every individual, corporation, lobbying group and politician to work together to create new laws that are more vigorously enforced, to counter the profit-driven exploitation of animals, people and land in order to build a healthy future.
We are one people and we should be one voice; the divisions between political parties are ruining the unity needed to solve such a pervasive problem as climate change. Today, we young people call for you to ascend beyond party politics and listen to the desperate cries for help echoing across the world to save not only the futures of those in the Global North, but the present of those in the Global South.
The inadequate target of the EU to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is very unclear regarding how it should be achieved, and will fail to keep us under a 2°C increase in temperature, let alone a 1.5°C increase. This is totally unsatisfactory, and we are calling for policy changes regarding the removal of fossil fuels as an energy source. The short-term economy is being put before the future of our entire planet, and this is everything but sustainable.
We call for a Young People’s Assembly today and for you to finally listen to the voices of the forgotten youth. Ignored by politicians, silenced by the media, we are involuntarily absent from the discussions surrounding climate change, yet it is our futures that are at stake. We live in a supposedly "democratic" system where it is claimed our voices are heard, yet when we exercised our democratic right to negotiate a couple of days ago, we were met with nothing but a wall of inaction, just like we have been for years on end; despite the assurances and promises that we would be heard, we weren’t.
We are all tired of running in circles and we are all tired of shouting at the top of our lungs and still being silenced, but together we, politicians and activists alike, have the opportunity to form a new system that works for everyone. Lack of action and response can lead to frustration and even depression, and both activists and politicians are getting burned out. We feel like our efforts are wasted and like nothing we do amounts to anything. However, we are not the ones at fault - we live in a flawed system which does not allow for change. We may be disappointed and disgusted but we will not allow ourselves to become disillusioned or disenfranchised; instead we are ethically obliged to resist, disobey, march and strike, our numbers and resolve growing stronger until we can no longer be ignored.
We are exhausted, you are exhausted. We’re standing before a struggle too complex for anybody to fight alone, and therefore we want you to see this plant as an invitation to allow yourselves to listen, as a seed planted in your brain, to grow into concrete actions. This plant will remind you of our rage, our hope and need for sensible political action which does not recycle the fantasies of endless economic growth. We realize that this system is not only limiting us but limiting you, too. Be frustrated and be angry with us, but use that fire to become active. We dare you to feel the pain of our despair, and with the immense power you have, then find the courage to help us build a new and sustainable world.
Youth Climate Action Camp