Juan is a 15-year-old climate justice activist from Colombia. During the UN conference Stockholm+50, he was part of the PUSH Sweden delegation. We’re glad that he was part of our delegation, that we could learn from him and fight together with him for a climate justice future! After the conference, he wrote a reflection article that we would like to share with you.
During the first week of June, I attended Stockholm+50, a space to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the global environmental movement in Sweden. I participated as a young activist for Climate Justice and Action of Fridays For The Future Colombia and Fridays For Future MAPA, an environmental movement that seeks to raise the voices of the most affected areas and peoples of the Global South. Hundreds of young people from different cultures, religions, and ethnicities, arrived there in order to demand a change. We have new visions and perspectives of our future, we need to take immediate action to change the course of our planet!
The serious environmental problems in Colombia and Latin America in general, and the high number of socio-environmental conflicts that occur, make those who defend life especially vulnerable to numerous types of violations of their rights. In addition to the attacks that have claimed numerous lives, environmental activists have been subjected to serious threats, physical violence, criminalization, persecution, and restriction of their freedoms.
One possible way out of this situation is the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) ”Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean”.
In the meantime, young Colombians continue to lobby our state to finally file and sign it before congress. During several intervention spaces of the conference, I highlighted the points commented, carrying at all times the phrase #Defend the Defenders which in its acronym in Spanish ”Defiende los Defensores” makes clear reference to the protection of those who fight for the protection of our pachamama (mother earth).
Despite the high expectations that I initially had there, Stockholm+50 ended up being yet another ”Blah, Blah, Blah” space where the bureaucracy was remarkable. I was quite shocked to see BiPoC communities, outside the conference, protesting to be granted a ticket for the conference. Shouldn’t the societies that are directly affected by the corporations of rich white men raise their voices in these scenarios? Isn’t this a clear sign of censorship in the face of international interventions?
We are looking for more! We want more ambitious proposals, projects that have a great positive impact on the territories and on the societies that really need it. The actions need to be taken now! We have little time left; the clock is getting closer and closer to midnight, in a few years there will be no turning back. Let’s think about the living beings, the species that we are extinguishing. The people who inhabit this great world need more solidarity, now is the time for a change, and COP27 will be a crucial space to define our future as a species.
– Juan David Amaya