Climate justice plays a huge role in Andjela’s work as she passionately campaigns for fast action that would help to create a world where everyone can live in a healthy environment. She emphasises that there are many environmentalists of different ages in Serbia who are frustrated by the lack of action, highlighting the devastating effects environmental issues are already having on local people’s health.
Andjela sending a letter to the Serbian Minister of Education as one of the projects she took part in.
“I just want to encourage people to do something before things get worse and people get sick. Let’s think about the future and actively prevent things from getting worse. If we start now, transition to greener energy and care for the environment, then we’ll be in a much better place in 10 years. Let’s not regret waiting [too long].”
“We need to reach out to our leaders, they are the ones holding the most power but they usually care about money and their own benefits more than our people. That is selfish and unfair and should be stopped. I can’t do that on my own, I need people. We’ve already proven that together we can do many things and attract the decision makers to us and the problems we are trying to point to.”
That’s not to say that Andjela isn’t also aware of environmental issues happening elsewhere. When talking about climate justice, she conveyed a very global outlook, recognising that everybody, regardless of their race or nationality, should have access to a healthy environment.
Andjela volunteering in Novi Sad’s cycling initiative at Critical Mass.
“There are countries that are now facing really terrible things that are caused by climate change. So climate justice will mean for us to care about those people as well and provide them with a better life by changing our impact on climate change too.”
Driven by her love of nature, Andjela turns her sadness over losing some of the local forests, she used to visit as a child, into action as she works to encourage her community and the government to act selflessly and embed climate justice into what they do each day.
“I wish that people would care about each tree equally and just know that you’re not alone. You can’t be selfish – that tree is a home for many species of plants and animals. The fertile land will be ruined by factories and this could lead to starving families. Air pollution is already making people sick! I just wish that people would see the importance of nature for us and would care more about it!”
She is also passionate about Serbia taking a lead in the transition towards a net zero economy powered by clean energy alternatives like solar panels and wind turbines.
“Sooner or later, we are going to reach that point when we will have no choice but to transition to renewable energy, so why not do it today?”
Despite the obstacles she faces, you can hear the hope for a better future in Andjela’s voice and activism. She even shared one of the many reasons she enjoys being an environmental activist by describing how she is surrounded by a very supportive group of other activists united by the same beliefs and love for the planet.
Andjela volunteering in Novi Sad’s cycling initiative at Critical Mass, promoting cycling as green transport.
“I like the people that I work with because they make me feel like I’m in this big family (that is) there for the same reason as me. We support each other – not just in activism, but in our everyday life. It’s like you meet a friend with the same passions and no matter how different we may be, we are there for each other. And we just brainstorm, put our ideas together, and that really makes you feel like you are part of something, that you are part of a change!”
When times are tough, Andjela keeps finding the motivation from the amazing people she is working with, by making small changes and believing in the ability to bring a bigger change for everyone’s well being!