Entries by Eva Kloudová

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SWITCH Networking event in Prague

S.W.I.T.C.H. networking event in Prague​

Learn about sustainable entrepreneurship and civil societies

Saturday 11 February 2023 from 15.00

Register

The goal of the event is to promote the work done in the SWITCH project, to showcase the work of the nine participants who finished the course and to gather and strengthen the cooperation of organisations, civil society organisations, movements and party-political organisations, as well as participants who are interested in this topic.
 

Agenda

After the presentation from participants of the SWITCH project, we will be holding an excellent opportunity to network with NGOs in Prague, and people interested in sustainability. In an ‘organisation fair format’, you will have the chance to represent your organisation, the work you do, upcoming opportunities, or any other thing you wish.

15:00 – 16:10 Getting to know each other & introduction to the SWITCH project
16:10 – 16:30 Break
16:30 – 17:30 Organizations Fair in Prague
17:30 – 19:00 Cocktail & Networking

What’s the SWITCH project?

SWITCH stands for Sustainability & Waste: Innovation, Training and Community Hub. During the training, participants developed a sustainable business project from scratch, together with the support of YEE and the rest of the participants, becoming part of a like-minded international community.

Practical information

  • When

    Saturday 11 February 2023, from 15.00

  • Where

    In the Green Innovation Academy, located in Vinohradská 2577/178, ground floor 130 00, Prague 3 – Vinohrady

  • How

    Register your interest

lucia

If you have any questions,

feel free to contact the project coordinator Lucía at lucia@yeenet.eu or via the form below.
















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AWG Team Members | Volunteering ​

AWG Team Members | Volunteering

We are looking for two volunteers to join our Advocacy Working Group as liasion officers! You will be part of the advocacy team which consists of a big team of volunteers, the project leads, the advocacy manager, the strategic communications officer and the external relations officer.



Could this be the position for you?

Green Cities & Green Europe

As a LO on Green Cities & Green Europe, you will have the opportunity to work on a project targeted at the Green Capital for 2023, Tallinn and then on our relationships with EU Institutions and the biggest European NGOs such as Climate Action Network Europe, European Environmental Bureau and others. Additionally, you will focus on G7 & G20 processes and have the opportunity to represent the organization as a youth representative respective events.​

Deadline: 10th of February, 23.59 CET

Learn more

Intersectionality

As a LO on Intersectionality, you will work on human rights issues within the climate and environmental crisis. The two thematic areas that this portfolio will explore are how the environmental change impacts BIPOC communities (black, indigenous, and people of color) & women. The portfolio will consist of 2 volunteers who will work together on these 2 thematics.

Deadline: 5th of February, 23.59 CET

Learn more

Green Cities & Green Europe

Tallinn became the first European capital to offer free public transport to its citizens. This city has set an example through this promotion of sustainable transport, showing the way for other European capitals. Last but not least, the idea of a European Green Capital was originally conceived in Tallinn, at a meeting held in May 2006 on the initiative of the former City Mayor, Jüri Ratas. According to the European Green Capital Jury, Tallinn has shown a systemic approach in their transition towards sustainability with interlinked strategic goals for 2035, linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, the city is the only one of the finalist cities that has signed the Green City Accord.

2023 portfolio priorities: 

Priority will be given to candidates from the Baltic Countries, especially from people living in Estonia and speaking Estonian. 


Intersectionality

Human rights and climate change are very interconnected. Some groups are more affected than others. That’s why we are searching for you to demonstrate these differences and advocate how climate change is not only about the environment but it is also about us and basic human rights.

2023 portfolio priorities: 

Priority will be given to people who consider themselves part of these groups.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us:












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Call for Organisational training | Showcasing the Unheard

Call for Organisational training

We believe that the representation of diverse voices in the environmental youth movement is the key to good policymaking. (Under)representation of young people from rural communities, minorities and vulnerable groups affects the design, implementation and effectiveness of policies. Facing the climate emergency, we want to make sure that those who feel its consequences the most have space in decision-making and know that their voice matters. With this project, we want to engage with young people locally, while empowering and connecting youth internationally.

Online Training to Central and Eastern Europe (youth-led NGOs or youth groups in Central and Eastern Europe with priority towards Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania) with access to a facility/venue to work with marginalised youth on the local level; already working with marginalized communities with limited capacity/knowledge, or with a strategy/ strong vision for working with marginalized communities, able to assign at least one employee/volunteer to participate in the training course and lead the sub-granted project.

This training is for you if:

🟡 You are between the ages of 16 – 30

🟡 Your organisation is from Central or Eastern Europe
🟡  You want to extend your capacity in terms of working with marginalised communities
🟡  You believe in diversity and inclusion and you would like to do something to make your local community more inclusive and environmentally aware.

🟡  You are already working or plan to work with marginalised communities and are searching for support or guidance in your efforts.

At the training, you will:

🟣 Discuss the different types of disadvantaged communities present in our local regions that can be target groups for future projects and cooperation

🟣 Work together to understand how to better integrate disadvantaged communities in the decision making process of projects as well as how to shape projects and events around their needs

🟣 Develop your understanding of the importance of integration and environmental activism
🟣 Discuss possible project topics, structure, dead-lines, and future sub-granting availability.

After the training:

Participants of the training course will get an opportunity to apply for a sub-grant to develop the capacity of their organisation to work with young people with fewer opportunities.

Practical information

  • When

    1st February 2023 and 3rd February 2023

  • Where

    Online

  • How

    Register your interest before 28th January

This training course is part of the Showcasing the Unheard project.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us:
















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Communications Team Members | Part time ​Opportunities

Communications Team Members | Part time

We are looking for two part-time employees to join our communications team! Could this be the position for you?
Please apply via the form before January 29th 23h59 CET.

Strategic Communications Officer


We are looking for a bright and engaged young person to help develop our content creation and communications strategy surrounding campaigns and advocacy initiatives.
15 hours per week


Responsibilities


  • producing promotional material, toolkits, articles, visuals

  • developing communications strategies and long-term goals

  • reaching out to new partners

Video Content Creator


We are looking for a content creator who would be tasked with the creation and editing of videos for multiple purposes from campaigns, awareness-raising, project support, to promotional videos.
16 hours per month


Responsibilites


  • Creating videos on a demand-basis for advocacy projects

  • Creating TikToks/Reels based on current trends

  • Contributing to the design of campaigns

Strategic Communications Officer

We are looking for a bright and engaged young person to help develop our content creation and communications strategy surrounding campaigns and advocacy initiatives, working part-time with 15 hours a week. The Strategic Communications Officer will work closely with the Communications Manager, Advocacy Manager, Policy Coordinator and Video Editor to consistently keep in mind the bigger picture of YEE’s communications strategy for messaging to partnerships. Day to day work consists of content creation for YEE projects, designing toolkits and educational materials and joining teams to offer advice on visual identity and messaging. 

Key Responsibilities

Moreover, this position comes with two portfolio focuses: Legal Seeds (Environmental Law Project) and our activities surrounding the UNFCCC COP. This entails:
    • Environmental Law – Legal Seeds is an ongoing project, whose visual identity is already determined, and whose  deliverables are already fixed. This portfolio includes:
      • Promotion of the podcast “Environmental Law Coffee Breaks” with Rethinking Climate;
      • Creation of social media to promote Legal Seeds workshops, training and activities;
      • Proof-reading and publishing their articles.
      • Creation of templates for articles, presentations, videos and other content produced by the team.
      • Attending meetings with the team once a week.
  • UNFCCC COPs is a less fixed position in which a visual identity will have to be developed for UNFCCC COP28 and a communications strategy will have to be determined with the Advocacy Manager and Communications Manager based on our advocacy strategy for COP28. Overall this will include:
    • Creation of a visual identity;
    • Creation of social media to promote YEE’s activities and to recruit volunteers;
    • Creation of campaign material;
    • Article coverage of COP28;
    • Outreach to journalists to help promote a youth perspective. 

What does a typical day as a Strategic Communications Officer look like?

You can expect to work around 3 hours a day, of which one hour would be centred around meetings to check in with colleagues, catching up with emails or Slack messages and generally connecting and communicating with the rest of the team. The rest of the work is typically determined by demand (what campaigns or projects are currently ongoing) and this could look like: designing and researching for social media posts, researching and writing an article or toolkit. The work is diverse and always changing – great for those who enjoy variety and getting to touch upon many topics! 

What are the 2023 goals for this job?

The overarching goal for the Strategic Communications Position is to create an overarching communications strategy for the Advocacy Working Group within a larger plan for YEE designed with the Communications Manager. This strategy will aim to grow our outreach and educational potential!

Who are we looking for?

  • A young person (under the age of 35), from or based in Europe (not limited to European Union Member States), who is/has:
  • A background in communications, journalism, graphic design, climate change, environmental studies or multimedia;
  • Comfortable with platforms and tools such as Google Drive, Zoom, Slack, Notion, Canva & more;
  • Comfortable with graphic design;
  • Proficient/Fluent use of English;
  • Ability to multitask and prioritise projects;
  • Ability to communicate clearly and consistently in a group setting;
  • A positive attitude in the face of the climate and biodiversity crisis;
  •  
  • Skills that would be an asset:
    • Comfortable to expert use of social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & more;
    • Comfortable with TikTok/Reels format;
    • Knowledge of other languages (French, Polish…);
    • Knowledge of environmental youth sphere;
    • Understanding of campaigns;
    • Creativity;
    • Copy-writing skills;
    • Attention to detail.

What do we offer?

  • Part-time position of 15 hours per week with a monthly net salary of 720 Euros (12 Euros per hour), according to a service contract. The position will run from March to July with the possibility of prolonging the contract depending on funding.
  • An inclusive work environment with fun, friendly and passionate colleagues from all corners of Europe;
  • Flexible working hours;
  • Remote work or opportunity to work with us in our office in Prague;
  • Possibility to learn and grow very quickly with the opportunity to learn about communications policy-making processes at the national, European and international level;
  • Potential for opportunities to travel during the mandate to cover a YEE event in-person (such as YEE training courses, general assemblies or UN events).


Video Content Creator (Social Media & TikTok)

We are looking to enrich our communications team with a new part-time position (16 hours per month, distributed according to demand e.g 4 hours a week) who would be tasked with the creation and editing of videos for multiple purposes from campaigns, to awareness-raising, to project support, to promotional videos and more. We are looking for someone who is comfortable with TikTok/Reel video format and able to work flexibly around a team and following trends.

Key Responsibilities

What are the 2023 goals for this job?

YEE currently lacks capacity to make, record and edit videos yet we recognise the importance of this format for communications especially with the rise of TikTok and Reels. The overarching goal for this job is to start a consistent and effective use of videos throughout our projects and overarching strategy. 

Who are we looking for?

  • A young person (under the age of 35), from or based in Europe (not limited to European Union Member States), who is/has:
  • A background in video production, communications, journalism or multimedia
  • Comfortable with platforms and tools such as Google Drive, Zoom, Slack, Notion, Canva & more;
  • Proficient with the video-editing software of choice such as Adobe After Effects or Final Cut Pro X;
  • Ability to communicate clearly and consistently in a group setting;
  • A positive attitude in the face of the climate and biodiversity crisis;
  •  
  • Skills that would be an asset:
    • Comfortable to Expert use of social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & more;
    • Comfortable with TikTok/Reels format;
    • Knowledge of other languages (French, Polish…);
    • Knowledge of environmental youth sphere;
    • Understanding of campaigns.

What do we offer?

  • Part-time position of 16 hours per month with a monthly net salary of 192 Euros (12 Euros per hour), according to a service contract. The position will run from March to July with the possibility of prolonging the contract depending on funding.
  • An inclusive work environment with fun, friendly and passionate colleagues from all corners of Europe;
  • Flexible working hours;
  • Remote work or opportunity to work with us in our office in Prague;
  • Possibility to learn and grow very quickly with the opportunity to learn about communications and policy-making processes at the national, European and international level;
  • Opportunity for one travel during the mandate to cover and film a YEE event in-person.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us:














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3 Billion Trees – Can the EU do it? ​

3 Billion Trees - Can the EU do it?

What is the 3 Billion Tree Pledge?

3 billion trees – a big number, a big promise. As part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the European Union committed to planting 3 billion additional trees by 2030. Without a doubt, trees are incredibly important to our natural environment – they provide crucial roles in various ecosystems, are home to many diverse species, absorb carbon, improve human health and well-being and serve essential roles in flood control and water filtration. This EU pledge plans to do just that. By increasing forest cover in the EU, “in full respect of ecological principles: the right tree species in forests, agricultural areas, urban and peri-urban areas and along infrastructure corridors”. Is this promise too good to be true?

The forest expansion rate in the EU has been slow in recent years, and a goal of 3 billion additional trees would double the total forest expansion rate in Europe between 2005 and 2020. It is currently estimated that in the EU, 300 million trees are grown annually. Currently, as of October 2022, the activity under the pledge has resulted in 6,787,146 new trees have been planted, carried out in all 27 countries with help from 28 organisations such as Land Life and ReforestAction. 

Afforestation – a solution for the biodiversity and climate crisis?

Afforestation and reforestation are not new policies, humans have been planting trees for centuries. There is a consensus that trees and forests are worthwhile and there is a policy to support it. The EU itself has seen the afforestation of approximately one million hectares of agricultural land between 1994-1999, and 700 hectares between 2000 and 2007. Many countries have afforestation policies in place. Canada’s Forest 2020 Plantation Development and Assessment Initiative, not dissimilar to this pledge, saw the plantation of 6000 hectares of forest and its success encouraged the government’s investment of $3.16 billion to plant 2 billion trees in ten years in 2020. Famously, the African Union put in place the Great Green Wall, an ambitious policy to help combat desertification, the AU has been planting a wall of trees to cover 100 million hectares of land and absorbs 250 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. Other approaches have been taken – in 1981, China put in place a law which requires children over the age of 11 to plant a tree per year. 

What is the impact on biodiversity…? 

What does planting trees do? Firstly, forests are important loci for biodiversity, representing often dense ecosystems with diverse plants and animals. Forests are thought to be important habitats, “home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity on land”. Planting more trees in forested areas or reforesting struggling forest ecosystems can have many important impacts. Forests are important habitats and maintaining their integrity through reforestation can ensure that wildlife remains in the region and isn’t forced to relocate. Increased forest density and diversity have also been linked to an increase in species richness for fungi and soil invertebrates. Moreover, tree plantation in urban areas (included in the 3 Billion Trees Pledge) has been studied as a positive act that attracts and shelters wildlife species, particularly birds and insects, and provides shade.

Forests are also key for soil quality and resilience. A lack of trees has been seen to cause a sensibility to soil erosion. Trees’ overlapping and interconnected roots provide a structural role in the topsoil layer of land. This topsoil layer can erode (runoff) without trees in place, which in turn risks the land becoming infertile and inhospitable to the plantation. Moreover, afforestation has been found to improve watersheds, which are key for water supply. 

.. and for the climate?

The benefits don’t stop there – trees can help us in the fight against climate change. Carbon sequestration is a bit of a buzzword in the environmental sphere but it shouldn’t be dismissed. Restoring forests and increasing generally the number of plants on our earth has the potential to absorb and store large amounts of carbon – these are known as carbon sinks. Through photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees, and they in turn release oxygen. The absorbed carbon is turned to sugar which is used in the wood, branches and roots, meaning that it remains in the standing tree. Even once the tree dies, it takes years for the carbon to break down, apart from when leaves decompose and when carbon is released more quickly. The age of the tree impacts its carbon sequestration aptitude, with middle-aged trees being the most effective and young trees the least effective due to size. Overall, uneven-aged forests are the best at carbon capture – meaning that planting trees in strategic places would allow for uneven-aged forests and increase the potential for carbon sequestration. 

For this reason, afforestation and reforestation are seen as one of the great ‘natural solutions’ for climate mitigation. Policymakers believe these forms of ecosystem services are probable to be of rising importance and relevance due to their impact both for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and general benefits to our environment. This potential has been recognised internationally with the Paris Agreement emphasising the importance of carbon sinks in order to achieve a balance between emissions and removals. Carbon sinks are a key part of EU environmental policy with recent targets set to increase carbon sinks by 15% compared to today in the land use and forestry sector. 

Overall, the pledge could be very powerful in this regard: 3 billion trees covering 2 million ha could remove up to 4 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere already by 2030, and as much as 15 million tonnes by 2050, according to the European Commission. The decision to encourage tree planting, therefore, seems a logical one, both in terms of benefits for climate and biodiversity.

The right tree, in the right place, for the right reason

However, as with most environmental solutions, it is not as clear-cut as it seems. 

Simply planting trees isn’t a be-all and end-all solution to our dual crisis.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, the EU’s environment commissioner, commented: “That’s our promise. To plant three billion trees. The right trees, in the right place, for the right reason” – this second half is essential, we can’t simply plant any tree anywhere and assume it is beneficial. It must be done properly – is the 3 billion tree pledge ready for that? 

The pledge, in all its ambition, has limitations. With 8 years left, there are still 2.993 billion trees to be planted and yet, given the voluntary nature of the pledge, it is unclear how the number will be reached. The pledge came along with a roadmap which primarily relies on monitoring through the Forest Information System for Europe and the creation of a new app MapMyTree so citizens can upload and monitor their trees and progress. Anyone can plant a tree – but it is essential that native tree species to the area are planted, and that it is done with care and understanding of the surrounding ecosystem. 

Avoiding Monocultures 

The pledge is ambitious – asking for huge amounts of trees to be planted – but it cannot be stressed enough that monocultures cannot be a solution to short-cut to the end-goal of 3 billion trees.  Monocultures were conceptualised as a way to produce as much wood “in as little time as possible and, technically in the simplest manner” in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe as a response to timber shortages. Their simplicity is at odds with the necessary complexity of biodiversity. In setting high targets for tree plantation, there is the potential that concerned actors would cut corners and plant large plantations of similar species – not a sustainable approach to forestry. As Friends of the Earth International, World Rainforest Movement and FERN, said monoculture tree plantations done in the guise of carbon sinks would “have to be large-scale and thus even more destructive — are exactly the opposite of “sustainable development”. Ecosystem uniformity means that there is a lack of genetic diversity as well as typically close planting, making monoculture plantations vulnerable to pests and diseases. 

Where’s the money? 

Another issue with the pledge is funding. The reality is that to achieve such an ambitious goal as 3 billion trees, there will be a need for monetary incentives. In the EU’s public consultation on the issue, a main key challenge in terms of planting additional trees was identified: “financial resources/loss of farmland value after conversion to forest land”, an issue raised by 62.88% of respondents. It seems that this pledge is relying on the use of pre-existing EU and national funds and monetary mechanisms such as Finland’s Metso Programme which pays private forest owners to keep some of their lands for biodiversity purposes. In the EU, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) helps provide financial support for forests and forest management through national Rural Development Programmes, though the use of these funds has not been achieved to their fullest extent, perhaps due to a lack of awareness of how to apply or implement forest-based adaptation activities. From 2014 to 2020, 27% of these CAP forestry measures went to afforestation.

Unfortunately, we cannot simply hope that 3 billion trees will be planted by pure goodwill and altruism – as Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Costa Rica’s minister for the environment and energy, acknowledged in relation to Costa Rica’s afforestation approach: “we have learned that the pocket is the quickest way to the heart ”. Instead, this policy must be paired with robust financial support, aid and access.

Is there a risk of greenwashing in all of this? 

Tree planting has become perceived as an easy solution to climate change due to its carbon sequestration potential – it has become the token action in order to offset carbon emissions through offset schemes, a form of commercialised climate mitigation which has been often awarded the label of greenwashing. Oil and gas companies have invested in tree-planting to offset emissions, such as Total announcing a $100 million investment in 2019. Tree-planting has been picked up by politicians across the political spectrum due to its feasibility, with even right-wing U.S. former president Donald Trump supporting the proposition of a ‘Trillion Trees Act’. This republican move was recognised as a way to satisfy voter demand for climate action without having to curtail emissions and the interests of the fossil fuel lobby. This encapsulates the key issue at hand: planting trees and carbon sequestration shouldn’t be a replacement for mitigation measures and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, Greenpeace described this EU initiative as simply “feel good”, that overall “lack(s) real action to restore forests and expand clean energy”, representative of “not only (…) a dangerous distraction from the climate crisis, but represents logging industry greenwashing.” Principally, Sini Eräjää, Greenpeace EU forest campaigner, summarised it as: “the potential climate and biodiversity benefits to planting trees are limited, but the risks of greenwashing are endless“. Overall, it is clear, the 3 billion trees pledge should be understood as one policy tool amongst many to promote tree planting and help Europe’s climate and biodiversity issues. Indeed, it is simply one of the measures of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.

To plant or not to plant?

2022 has ended, leaving 7 years for the implementation of the 3 billion trees goal and yet the structure in place to support it and allow for its long-term success seems to be lacking. Overall, as was mentioned in reaction to the press release for the 3 Billion Trees Pledge, “in terms of numbers alone, the pledge has raised eyebrows”. 3 billion trees is a very ambitious goal, and we are currently only a tiny fraction of the way there. Hopefully the remaining 2.993 billion trees to be planted will indeed be done with the right trees in the right place with the right support.











Introducing Vladislava | Showcasing the Unheard

Introducing Vladislava
Showcasing the Unheard

I think that we will definitely cope with climate change, simply because we have no other choice.

Meet Vlada, an 18 years old activist from St. Petersburg, Russia. Vlada coordinates Fridays for Future Russia and is especially interested in the melting of permafrost in Russia, the fate of indigenous peoples, ecofeminism, food security, and a just transition. She studies ecology at a Russian state university and dreams of doing a master’s degree on climate change in Europe, as this subject is not available anywhere in Russia.

 

Vlada started to learn about the problem of climate change at the age of 16 and soon after started her digital climate action campaigns. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, she understood the importance of this topic. As an activist in Russia, however, there are serious security concerns, which is why she was reluctant to start big activism at first. But then Vlada got to know Arshak Makichyan and other climate activists in Russia, whose examples inspired her to not be afraid and fight for our planet and future. The example of Arshak’s action, who organised a school strike for the climate every Friday for more than 40 weeks, as well as that of other activists shows how great a role young climate activists play in Russia. Unfortunately, they have to reckon with the consequences of their actions, which can even lead to them being sent to prison, as happened to Arshak, who ended up there for a few days.

Another main problem Vlada is faced with in her activism is the negative propaganda against FFF from Russia.

“People believe in propaganda that often insults us or writes pseudo-scientific articles, and many people are skeptical of us.”

The amount of hate, these obstacles and difficulties led to a lot of people leaving the Fridays For Future movement – they are burnt out and lack the energy to continue fighting. And the pandemic has not helped: since 2020, campaigning has become even more difficult. Unapproved protests of more than one person are generally forbidden, as are most forms of protest before the age of 18.
Vlada told us: “Even a single picket is illegal. We live in the absence of freedom of speech, and some activists of our movement have already been repressed. Therefore, each of our actions must be carefully considered and all consequences calculated, which is why our work is now almost paralyzed.”

A key aspect of Vlada’s activism is related to information sharing, as she believes that the things she reads and learns should also be shared with others. Especially in Russia, where people do not know much about climate change because there is barely any education about it in schools, this is crucial. At FFF, she reports that a multitude of topics has been discussed in the past, but she wants to shift focus to local topics in Russia now.

The topics she thinks are especially relevant are the consequences of Russian colonialism, how fossil fuel companies are destroying indigenous lands, and how the very existence of these peoples is threatened due to climate change. She hopes that by focusing on topics close to their hearts, more Russians will get involved and overcome their fears of acting.

“(…) in my opinion, it makes sense to talk more about the problems and consequences of the climate crisis specifically for Russia – but this doesn’t mean that we will engage in isolationism and ignore world problems. It’s just that what is happening in Russia is more closely perceived by our citizens, and we need to use this fact.”

To achieve a better world, Vlada sees negotiation as a key step to be taken. 

“It's terrible that adults still resolve their conflicts with
weapons and murder. It shouldn't be like this, we need solidarity and
the ability to unite.”

The amount of hate, these obstacles and difficulties led to a lot of people leaving the Fridays For Future movement – they are burnt out and lack the energy to continue fighting. And the pandemic has not helped: since 2020, campaigning has become even more difficult. Unapproved protests of more than one person are generally forbidden, as are most forms of protest before the age of 18.
Vlada told us: “Even a single picket is illegal. We live in the absence of freedom of speech, and some activists of our movement have already been repressed. Therefore, each of our actions must be carefully considered and all consequences calculated, which is why our work is now almost paralyzed.”

A key aspect of Vlada’s activism is related to information sharing, as she believes that the things she reads and learns should also be shared with others. Especially in Russia, where people do not know much about climate change because there is barely any education about it in schools, this is crucial. At FFF, she reports that a multitude of topics has been discussed in the past, but she wants to shift focus to local topics in Russia now.

The topics she thinks are especially relevant are the consequences of Russian colonialism, how fossil fuel companies are destroying indigenous lands, and how the very existence of these peoples is threatened due to climate change. She hopes that by focusing on topics close to their hearts, more Russians will get involved and overcome their fears of acting.

“(…) in my opinion, it makes sense to talk more about the problems and consequences of the climate crisis specifically for Russia – but this doesn’t mean that we will engage in isolationism and ignore world problems. It’s just that what is happening in Russia is more closely perceived by our citizens, and we need to use this fact.”

To achieve a better world, Vlada sees negotiation as a key step to be taken. “It’s terrible that adults still resolve their conflicts with weapons and murder. It shouldn’t be like this, we need solidarity and the ability to unite.”

Furthermore, she states the importance of not buying fossil fuels from autocracies and dictatorships. She says the price to pay for “cheap” fossil fuels has now become apparent and that renewable energy sources can be seen as a guarantee of peace and justice.

The ongoing war on Ukraine is a very important topic for Vlada and with its onset, she has shifted the focus of her activism to anti-war but was not able to tell us more about it due to security concerns.

Vlada told us how drastically the war has changed her perspective:
“In the past, I used to see it as my goal to do everything to accelerate Russia’s compliance with the terms of the Paris Agreement and climate adaptation. But now, after the start of the war, I don’t know what my future and the future of Russia will be like. I want the war to end as soon as possible. I want all those responsible to be punished. I want to live in peace and tranquility, not in fear of repression and default.”

Despite everything that is happening, Vlada continues to be optimistic. She says:
“I think that we will definitely cope with climate change, simply because we have no other choice. It will be a very difficult path, but in the end, goodness and freedom will win. There are a lot of brave, strong and honest people in the world who are ready to fight for our common future. And while they exist, I believe in victory over all problems. (..) You may experience pain and anxiety about everything that happens in the world, especially if your country is at war or repressions. But I know that while we fight, goodness will live at least in our hearts, and in the end we will be able to spread it to the whole world. Some situations may seem hopeless, but we are alive, and freedom is alive with us. I hug everyone who is feeling bad now, who has lost motivation to fight for our future. Goodness will win, and goodness is you.”







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Energy Project Lead | Paid Opportunity

Energy Project Lead | Full time

We’re looking for a young and motivated person to join our Advocacy Team! Deadline: 2nd January, 23.59 CET

What are we working on

The Project Lead of the Energy Project will lead the entire project, working full-time 40h/week. The candidate will work closely with the Sustainable Energy Liaison Officer and will be part of the advocacy team.

The project will focus mainly on the:

  • Phasing out of Fossil Fuels and shifting to Renewable Energy
  • The management of the energy transition through the energy crisis in different countries

Main countries that we will focus on: Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, Denmark and Finland

 

What the job will entail:

Who are we looking for:

What we offer







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Environmental Law Project Assistant| Paid Opportunity

Environmental Law Project Assistant | Part time

We’re looking for a young and motivated person to join our Advocacy Team! Deadline: 2nd January, 23.59 CET

What are we working on

The Environmental Law Project Assistant will work closely with the Advocacy Project Coordinator and the Liaison Officer on Environmental Law on the YEE Legal Seeds 2 Project. Moreover, they will support the Advocacy Team on a weekly basis.

The Legal Seeds 2 Project builds on the Legal Seeds 1 and its objective is to empower young people to use the law in their political advocacy; through building a knowledge bank, organizing capacity-building workshops; and building a solid network with other youth and non-youth environmental NGOs.

The main topics covered are: 

  • FF55 and the EU Climate Laws;
  • The Aarhus Convention;
  • The Right to a Healthy Environment;
  • Climate Litigation.

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COP27 Reflections – Eva

There are many things that are wrong with COPs

The most privileged people in the world gather to discuss, not change the status quo in a very artificial setting. I was approached by one of the organisers to answer the question “How will COP help with solving climate change?” And the truth is, I really cannot see how. What is the purpose of the Green Zone other than take a selfie #blessed? This massive event has nothing to do with change, nor climate.
 
This is what I wrote down on my first day of COP27 after visiting the Green Zone.

After spending the week at the conference, hearing some great speeches, seeing some great work from experts, and observing many protests, I might hesitantly agree that it is actually our best shot at doing anything about the climate crisis on the global scale. By saying this, I am however not trying to excuse the greenwashing, the inaction, the obvious business interests, the propaganda of the organisers. I merely want to acknowledge that the scale on which we need to agree to act is massive, not to mention that everybody comes with the “what can we get from this” mindset which makes the agreement that more difficult.

There are many things that are wrong with COPs and which should be improved. However,  we, the civil society, should not give up and hand this conference to private companies and lobbyists trying to influence politicians for their own gains, even though it brings so much frustration.

To conclude, on one hand, my perspective slightly changed after a full week in Sharm El-Sheikh, however I still stand by the first sentence that I wrote down – The most privileged people in the world gather to discuss, not change the status quo in a very artificial setting. With that in mind, we will keep showing up and keep pushing for change, even if it is measured in steps not miles.

COP27 Reflections - Together for implementation?

The motto for this COP was “Together for Implementation” – but have we been able to pass it to action? And are the parties truly “together” in the face of the climate crisis?


Read Here

COP27 Reflections – Agnes

Observing with your eyes being covered

First time in Egypt, first time at COP, first time being the head of the delegation during week 2 at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. I have to admit that before going to COP, you have no idea what to expect. And no matter how prepared you arrive, you need to adapt immediately, improvise and work on the spot under pressure. And that’s because being at COP as an observer, it feels like you are observing a living thing at its evolution but with your eyes being covered. You don’t know what this evolution looks like behind closed doors, but at the same time you need to react as soon as you get a hint of the direction of the negotiations.

Our delegation during week 2 worked a lot on networking with International & European Organisations, youth groups, climate activists and other NGOs. The group managed to organise and facilitate a networking session in the Children & Youth Pavilion with the participation of one of the negotiators for achieving meaningful youth engagement in the climate negotiations and bridging the intergenerational gap. A very interesting day was the day we all wore our YEE designed T-shirts with the logo “Talk to me about Climate Justice”. Apparently, this led a lot of people towards our path to hold discussions about climate justice. This interaction during this week with so many people could really give you the impression that people want to hear the voice of youth. But how close to the truth is this?

Our role as young activists at COP27 was limited and restricted. Young people were a very small percentage of the people participating at COP, and due to limited resources they were not living under good conditions which are a requirement to be able to manage the stress and the intensity of being 12 hours at the venue every day  for 1 or 2 weeks.  Despite these conditions and how left out we were feeling, we were there, the same faces trying to make our voices heard and gain a seat at the table. Even though the Youth & Children Pavilion was one small step of the youth involvement, it was most of the time still a place for youth to youth and not a place to bring together negotiators and young people. It was isolated and did not serve the immediate response needed of the role of youth in the climate crisis. Frustration, exhaustion, disappointment were some of the feelings I felt were common among the young people.

Despite these negative emotions, our hope and urge to become part of climate negotiations could not be tamed. After reading the final decision of COP27, I felt the spark of a small victory by the explicit mention of the role of youth in addressing climate change and the encouragement towards including youth representatives in the climate negotiations. Though, the wording used does not guarantee any strong implementation, therefore, I keep my excitement for that very suppressed, until I witness it in practice.

I am going to conclude my reflections with a feeling that I think I’ll never forget. Witnessing my future determined by people who leave the future generation aside and silently quit the 1.5 target that was set in the Paris Agreement, made me feel like I am sitting tied in a chair seeing my house getting burned. But as long as I’ll have a voice, I’ll be shouting: we are not yet defeated.

COP27 Reflections - Together for implementation?

The motto for this COP was “Together for Implementation” – but have we been able to pass it to action? And are the parties truly “together” in the face of the climate crisis?


Read Here