Shining a light on voices most affected by climate crisis
Amelia Crews is an Energy Innovation Co-ordinator at Your Co-op Energy and is a youth climate activist.
COP events such as COP27 can be confusing but also empowering and Amelia shares the important challenges. Including the POWERS that are invited to the table and shines a light on voices most affected by the climate crisis.
Hiya, I’m Amelia Crews – an Energy Innovation Co-ordinator at Your Co-op Utilities and a youth climate justice activist.
Last year, I was lucky enough to experience COP26 in Glasgow with Midcounties Co-operatives, taking you along the journey. This year, I hope to extend the message to you again however, from the comfort of my Bristol based desk (Egypt is a little far!).
COP’s can be confusing, empowering and challenging. So, it’s fair to say there’s lots to uncover. But first, let’s start with the basics.
- COP27 is the 27th annual meeting of 154 countries that signed a treaty in 1992 promising to protect our planet against harmful human impacts.
- COP26’s focus was ‘what needs to be achieved’. COP27’s focus is ‘how do we make this happen’.
- This year’s headline sponsor is Coca Cola. They happen to be the world’s largest plastic polluter. This gives you a taste into the ‘confusing’ nature of COP’s and is a perfect example of greenwashing – find out what this means here: https://greenwash.com/.
The past year has been tough for us all in a multitude of ways. Naturally, key environmental themes have risen out of these challenges and need to be accounted for in Egypt. Here are a couple:
- Fossil fuels. Rapidly diverting our reliance on fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy is essential in addressing the loss and damage created so far by the crisis.
- Climate finance. Debt relief, diverting investments into green funds and climate reparations (the idea that those most responsible for the climate crisis should compensate the nations who are suffering its worst impacts), are all vital for achieving a liveable future.
The most important factor of COP’s? - the powers invited to the table.
In COP’s to date, those who are most affected by the climate crisis are the ones who are excluded from the decision-making rooms. These include:
- Women (despite being 14X more likely to die during extreme weather events and making up 80% of climate refugees, only 34% of COP26 committees identified as women)
- Indigenous peoples – those who live in the global south, where the effects of the crisis are felt the most. (They make up 5% of the global population yet protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity).
- Young people – due to legal, economic, and physical barriers, it has been especially difficult for youth activists to get their voices heard and importantly, taken seriously.
Resources linked below if you’d like to find out more.
This year, there’s some good news! Children and young people have a space inside the blue zone (where politicians, diplomats and representatives undertake their negotiations). They will be holding discussions and policy briefings. Personally, I can’t wait to hear how this takes shape & just how our voices are, hopefully, being integrated. This is a small win however, there’s still a long way to go until other needed voices are being listened to.
With this in mind, I’d love to shine a light on voices that have to date, been suppressed. I encourage you to empathise and connect with their words, for they are some of the most affected by the crisis yet those listened to the least.
Dominique Palmer – 23-year-old climate justice activist.
‘What we do in this decade will determine the future of humanity. We need the end of new fossil fuel extraction now to secure a liveable and safe future for us all. Our planet is not for sale and must be prioritised over profit. It affects people now.’
Farzana Faruk Jhumu – 24-year-old Bangladesh climate justice activist.
‘I live in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and the most polluted city in the world. We have every kind of pollution you can think of. Maybe one in three people in my family have airborne diseases... Even this year, we had two cyclones, and after the pandemic, many children couldn’t go to school. There were cases where a whole two-story building just flooded with rains and rivers. And then people say the climate crisis doesn’t exist.’
Eriel Deranger - Indigenous rights activist and climate activist
‘They’re (COP) trying to collect and preserve indigenous knowledge while continuing to leave us out of the actual decision-making and positions of power. It’s the only lever we have to hold states and governments accountable, but it’s the same paternalistic system as ever. We’re set up to fail, so that’s where civil society must come in.’
Ayesha Di’Angelo – 22-year-old Young Co-operator
‘At COP27, we must remember the energy and passion of young people, and ensure it drives us forward. For the first time ever at a UNFCCC conference, there is ample opportunity for us all to engage and listen in at the Children and Youth pavilion! Led by the youth, for the youth, we'll amplify the voices of young people in the global policymaking process.’
It’s important we consume content from those who aren’t heard. Here are a few accounts you can follow to keep perspective: @mikaelaloach, @xiyebeara, @intersectionalenvironmentalist