Since coming back from COP27 in Egypt many have asked me how it was and if I believe there is still hope in the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) creating the change we need for our planet and future?
It is not an easy question to answer…
How do you find the right words to speak about the many passionate people and activists who come together from all over the world?
How do you find the words to speak about the failure to implement a phase-out of fossil fuels and simultaneously the victory of progressing the agenda of solidarity and support for loss and damage?
How do you find the words to tell the stories of people on the front lines of climate change, risking their lives to protect their homes and our future?
In many parts of the world we are often take our privileges for granted – the right to protest, resist, vote, and make change. For these rights, for this life, people are dying elsewhere in the world. If we want to know where we would have stood in the historic times of uprising, war, slavery, resistance and crimes against humanity – we only have to ask ourselves which side we are on today? Do we support the activists who stand up for our lives and futuure on earth? Are we the activists? How do we contribute to social change?
Being an activist is not just about demonstrating, but about making a difference – about demonstrating active hope. For me, the active hope at COP27 was visible not in the negotiations – but in the people of COP. It is the uniting, especially of young people, that is the manifestation of active hope for Earth. It is the unofficial projects and collaborations that happen when passionate people come together.
Nothing gives me more hope than the young activists attending COPs. COP27 was the first time there was a pavilion for children and youth – and no pavilion at the COP had as much energy and hope as the youth pavilion. But also clear announcements: “We are loud because you are stealing our future”. It is often said that “youth are the hope for the future”, but less is said about the enormous pressure this is for young people and the impact it is having on our mental health. Yes, there are more places where young people are heard, but most young people, like me, were at COP27 as ‘observers’ – so we’re allowed to be there, talking to other delegates and the press, but in the most of the enclosed spaces where negotiations take place – the youth still have no voice. We shouldn’t just have one vote, but two or three votes, because hopefully we have more than twice as long to live on earth than most of those who make decisions about us. This would then be a democracy that is fair to the environment and future generations.
I could go on – but in short: there is a lot to do and change in the years to come. Time is ticking and whether we like it or not – the pressure is real. We all are the last generation that can do something about climate change and we are all in! We must support, help, and fight for each other in every way possible and I feel empowered to know I have friends I can do it together with. I am so so grateful for all the wonderful people that I met this year at Stockholm+50 and COP27 – together we stand, fight, support, work, and dedicate our lives for a liveable future on a habitable and beautiful planet!
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt