Last weekend, I had the opportunity to participate to an international camp organized by CIDSE’s initiative “Change for the Planet – Care for the People” in Leuven, Belgium, together with other young activists from all over Europe. Three days of sharing experiences and reflections on the reality of global environmental social and economic problems linked to climate change with a common horizon, that of COP26 which will begin in a few days in Glasgow. It was an excellent opportunity to create connections and synergies on a human level between people who share a simple but very strong desire: the desire for a different future for our planet and for our society, a future characterized by social equity, sustainability in the management of natural resources and the respect of human rights. Three non-negotiable pillars that guide us in our daily actions of activism and awareness raising on an individual level. In fact, from the sharing and reflections it emerged a conviction that everyone can do something important to push society in this direction, towards the change we want. To spread a different culture, a new culture based on the balance between ourselves and the forces of nature that surround us.
However, each of us encounters different obstacles in spreading this message. Many people from our generation (but not only) believe that it is too difficult to change their habits, others think that it is too late and therefore it is useless to engage spending time and energy. This is precisely the starting point for an activist, a first concrete task. That is talking to these people, spreading knowledge, and trying to convince them of a simple irrefutable concept: society has always been changing over the centuries, it is changing now, and will continue to change faster and faster also in the future. For this reason, we must be an integral part of the ongoing change process, indeed we must try to be and to personify, through our daily actions, the change we desire in our society.
Nevertheless, we are aware that not everything is played on an individual level, quite the contrary. Most of this change passes through the institutional buildings of political power on a global level, and that is exactly where our voice must arrive with increasing strength and insistence. It is our duty to inform ourselves, to study, to protest by any non-violent means at our disposal. This is what we have been trying to do during these three days. Together we reasoned on an individual level to carry out common initiatives during COP26 and afterwards.
We are also aware that satisfying results will take time and patience. The global socio-political dynamics that affect these issues and the possible solutions related to them, which may seem so obvious to us, are very complex and require a process of negotiation and awareness at an international level that does not allow for immediate answers. But it is precisely because of this complexity that our responsibilities as citizens and activists increase, we are required to do everything possible to ensure that our requests reach such a powerful echo that they cannot go unnoticed, that they cannot be quickly dissolved with promises or vague commitments.
In conclusion, it is especially thanks to the connections and positive energy that are created during initiatives such as the CIDSE camp in which I have just participated, that I am gaining increasing confidence in our strength and on the possibility, as young environmental activists, to have an important role in the change and in the future of our planet.
By Francesco Lazzari
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