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“I think for young people in general the biggest concern is that we will have to live with the consequences of the inaction of politicians at these climate talks”, said Susi Hammel, of Young Friends of the Earth Europe.
“It’s not just our generation, but we are also as young people often speaking on behalf of future generations”, she added in an interview with Real World Radio close to the end of the UN COP 17 on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa.
Hammel is a member of BUND-Friends of the Earth Germany. She was working in Durban as part of the Friends of the Earth International delegation. She coordinated the actions and demonstrations of the environmental federation throughout the two weeks of the COP.
But she also had another significant role in Durban: she was one of the links between the multilateral negotiations and the tens of young activists for climate justice who met in Brussels, Belgium, to follow the negotiations and organize activities.
The Young Friends of the Earth Europe organized in Brussels the “European Youth Convergence for Climate Justice”, from December 2 to 10, in parallel to the United Nations climate talks. “Durban in Brussels”, is how the young activists called this second edition of a meeting of representatives from different countries. The first one took place in 2010 in parallel to the UN COP 16 climate conference in Cancun, Mexico.
Around 40 activists met this time in Brussels. There were representatives of organizations such as Friends of the Earth Europe, the UK Youth Climate Coalition, 350.org.
Hammel was one of the contact persons in Durban for the young people in Brussels. They had daily conference calls where the activists would share reports, data, updates on the negotiations, concerns. The young activists held workshops, demonstrations and capacity building in Brussels in order to improve their skills as climate justice activists.
“It’s a really open convergence for European climate activists from different groups (...) and what we are trying to do with this convergence is to build a youth movement for climate justice”, said Hammel. “This is obviously an activity that goes beyond the COP. (...)
This convergence is a very good opportunity for everyone to meet face to face and to share strategies, to share action plans and campaign ideas”.
Hammel said the youth is especially concerned about the fact that they “will have to live with the consequences of inaction of politicians at these climate talks”.
“The impacts of climate change will be so drastic and dramatic that will change our whole system of living and I think for young people. It’s really one of the biggest concerns that we will be so much affected and the politicians that are negotiating here they will not be arround anymore when the impacts of climate change will hit the world”, she said.
Finally she said she felt moved by the enthusiasm and joy of the African social movements and grassroots communities in the mobilizations whose demands address concerns shared by all humanity.
She also took pride in being part of Friends of the Earth International, and organization that works in the defense of communities and peoples that are most affected by the neoliberal system.
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