In just one month from now, an Earth in Brackets contingent will join other youth activists from Canada, Nigeria, and all across Europe in Lofoton, Norway, for Young Friends of the Earth Europe‘s (YFoEE) annual summer camp. The six of us just wanted to add our voices to the chorus of excitement already building ahead of July’s gathering.
The location is clearly important: the Lofoten islands are at risk of being opened up to new fossil fuel extraction, which, as YFoEE pointed out, will damage the natural beauty of the place and exacerbate climate change, as well as threaten livelihoods in the area which depend on bountiful and healthy cod stocks.
Although all industrialised nations have a significant climate debt for taking up more than their fair share of ‘atmospheric space,’ Norway in particular has benefitted from exploiting its reserves of fossil fuels. Having become a rich and stable nation in part because of this, Norway should now be investing heavily in renewable energy both at home and in the developing world. While Norway has displayed a financial commitment to environmental diplomacy, like all industrialized nations it has failed to take serious action to cut carbon emissions at home and fund developing nations to follow suit as well as adapt to the climate impacts already occurring. Opening up Lofoten to new extraction will betray not only local communities but also all future generations. We are being sold out by the continued obsession with fossil fuels!
As a group diverse youth, we’ll gather in Lofoton to reiterate that people and planet are more important than profit. We’re building bridges between our various groups, adding to the combined strength of the youth climate movement(s). While community action is crucial, we know that the fight cannot be waged at the local level alone. The stage for our connected causes is international. One platform, among many, is the UNFCCC—the UN climate negotiations, which have been crippled by suffocating bureaucracy, corporate influence and rich nations’ denial of responsibility, yet has the potential to create a comprehensive international agreement to tackle climate change. As a group that spends time engaging the multilateral negotiation space, we are extremely grateful for this opportunity offered us by our friends and allies at Natur Og Ungdom. We hope to use it to not only share tactics, stories, and hope, but also to practice solidarity with each other and strengthen the position of justice-focused youth in the UN space. We’re not there for power or to be bureaucrats: we’re there to recapture the space and make it work for a better and more just world.
Onwards and upwards!