Full of energy a group of PUSH members arrived at COY11 on Wednesday. Together with 5000 other young people from around the world we are attending this 11th Conference of Youth (COY11), which takes place every year before the Conference of Parties (COP). Through seminars and workshops we get to explore a variety of themes related to climate change and the environment.
Yesterday PUSH had the opportunity to hold a workshop on climate justice here at COY. The workshop was inspired by the PUSH 4 Change Climate Justice training week in Malmö in October. PUSH 4 Change was an initiative organized by PUSH Sweden with the collaboration of partner organizations. During this training we had the chance to exchange our perspectives around the concept of climate justice, and together we built up a sense for what the issue really means for our societies.
The workshop was then conducted during the Power Shift conference, where the participants gathered to share enthusiasm and motivation to keep fighting for climate justice. The workshop got a very good feedback after Power Shift, so we decided to bring it to COY11.
About 25 people from all over the world took part in our workshop yesterday. We started up by discussing what the concepts of climate and justice mean to us where a diversity of perspectives came up. Important key concepts were solidarity and responsibility.
To introduce the concepts of interconnection of different actors and the necessity of system change we played a game called Web of Life. The participants got to choose and write down on post-it notes actors or concepts which play a part in the climate justice struggles. To name a few, people wrote down words such as: government, NGO, growth, marginalized groups, meat consumption and fossil fuels. One person got to start the game by connecting their actor or concept with a thread to any other person in the room while explaining how they made this connection. And this person connects with another one, who then connects with someone else, until everyone in the room are connected to each other. The activity pictures the complexity of the climate justice problem.
Our next activity was a role play where we played out a scenario of a climate justice issue on a local level, in this case a business wanting to start up a coal mine close to a village. In the play we had four actors: a business, a local government, an NGO and local people. Throughout this play we explored what roles and power positions these actors can take on. The play pictured the interconections between the different power pressures at stake: social, political, economic, media powers. The participants got to comment and discuss the influence of the social and political context of each country on the delicate power balances of Climate Justice struggles.
The workshop brought up a spirit of constructive discussion, we had the opportunity to share our views and learn from one another’s perspective. New concepts were incorporated into the personal understanding of Climate Justice of each of the participants. Overall we received positive feedback showing satisfaction over the cooperative learning process enabled.
All in all, the workshop was the perfect appetizer for the coming two weeks full of discussions around climate justice. We are leaving COY11 today full of inspiration and motivation to go out at the COP floors to protect the red lines of Earth and humanity on climate change!
By Marcel Llavero Pasquina & Frida Arevik