“In Guatemala, Delmira cultivates corn to survive but due to drought the plants dry out before they ripen. To support their family her husband was forced to migrate, like many others, to the United States.”
THE HUMAN FACES OF CLIMATE CHANGE
The average global temperature is constantly rising and the catastrophic consequences of climate change are increasingly evident, even in the case of those phenomena, such as desertification or loss of land productivity, which are only visible in time. But desertification, droughts, cyclones and floods do not only concern the environment. There are implications to be defined, affecting all those people who leave their home in search of better opportunities. The relationship between climate change and migration is not simply one of cause and effect: on the contrary, it is a complex relationship, which is affected by many factors and variables. The most recent data shows that migration is on the rise: workers, families and entire communities move mainly within their own country, the region, the continent where they live and, sometimes, overseas.
Engaging youth to understand the complex relationships between climate change and migration to create a movement of informed people, ready to change lifestyle and demand new development policies is the goal of End Climate Change, Start Climate of Change – in short #ClimateOfChange – the initiative funded by the European Commission under the DEAR programme (Development Education and Awareness Raising), which supports projects involving EU citizens in social, economic and environmental issues of global relevance.
However, changing one’s individual behaviour is not enough: it is necessary to create a European network of young people who work together to call for collective change, at local, national and European level. Joining forces to achieve this goal are 16 European organizations led by WeWorld – among which civil society organisations, universities and NGOs – who have been working since the beginning of 2020 to plan in synergy not only research and debates in schools and universities, but also a pan-European communication and awareness campaign, online and offline, which will affect millions of boys and girls aged 16 to 35 living in 23 EU member states.
Involving young people to play a leading role in building societies that respect the principles of environmental and social justice is, in fact, one of the cornerstones of our efforts to raise awareness.
The fundamental steps of the project
#ClimateOfChange is structured in 4 main steps:
1 – Research. During the first year an interdisciplinary team composed of professors and researchers from the Alma Mater-University of Bologna will travel to 4 countries of interest to study the phenomenon. At the same time Oxfam Germany will draft a report on the concept of Human Economy to highlight the interconnections between production and consumption patterns in Europe and what happens in the countries most affected by the effects of climate change. In the meantime, a comparative survey will be carried out in 23 EU member countries to find out how young people perceive these issues and their level of knowledge.
2 – Awareness. Young people will be participating in training activities to raise awareness on these complex phenomena. For this reason, they will also participate in debates, following the methodology of Exponi le tue Idee, that is an educational competition based on debates. addressed to schools and universities. Together with the mobilization of local associations, they will therefore be at the forefront in understanding their role in the whole cycle of climate change and its effects. To enable the participants to understand the interconnections between these topics close up, some of them will have the opportunity to visit the 4 countries that are the object of the research carried out by the Alma Mater-University of Bologna and to witness directly the faces and stories of those who are forced to migrate.
3 – Pan-European campaign. Thanks to a pan-European tour that will take place in the main squares of Europe, the communication campaign will involve the citizens of the countries involved. And that’s not all. Young people will also be reached and involved with many online activities, including video spots, web series and social experiments carried out ad hoc. There will also be live initiatives, such as participation in festivals and the organization of TedX talks.
4 – Advocacy. Youth and all partners will be involved in advocacy activities at local, national and European level in order to make their voice heard and participate in the debate on the effects of climate change. They will also have the opportunity to participate in some relevant meetings, such as the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Thanks to three tours around Europe, young people will also meet spokespersons from the four countries of interest, who will give their testimonies to strengthen and support the other advocacy actions foreseen by the project.
In the 40 months of intervention #ClimateOfChange aims to create a movement of informed people ready not only to change their habits in favour of a sustainable and responsible lifestyle but also willing to take action to demand development policies to tackle global warming, recognizing the latter, in its complexity, as one of the main drivers of migration and forced displacement of populations. In fact, the basic idea that guides all our activities is that the fight against climate change cannot come exclusively from the will of a person, but a joint effort of citizens and political decision-makers is needed.
To learn more about Climate Of Change download the project fact sheet.
*Photo by Alberto Giuliani
Action Aid Hellas – Greece
ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy – France/Belgium
Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna – Italy
Alianza por la Solidariedad – Spain
Bulgarian Environmental Partnership Foundation – Bulgaria
Buy Responsibly Foundation – Poland
European Environmental Bureau – Belgium
FINEP – Forum für internationale entwicklung +planung – Germany
Hungarian Baptist Aid – Hungary
Istituto Marques de Valle Flor – Portugal
Municipality of Bologna – Italy
Oxfam Deutschland – Germany
SLOGA – Slovenian Global Action Platform – Slovenia
Südwind – Austria
UNRF – University of Nicosia Research Foundation – Cyprus
A.C.A.B.A.S – Italy
ASviS – Alleanza Italiana per lo sviluppo sostenibile – Italy
Associazione Noi del Tosi – Italy
bOJA – National Youth Network – Austria
Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar – Senegal
Fairtrade Polska – Poland
Mekelle University – Ethiopia
Municipality of Milan – Italy
ÖJV – Austrian National Youth Council – Austria
Polish Council of Youth Organisations – Poland
Funded By the European Union: