Announcing our new project End Climate Change, Start Climate of Change – #ClimateOfChange – funded by the European Commission under the DEAR Programme (Development Education and Awareness Raising) with the goal of engaging young Europeans to understand the complex relationships between climate change and migration, to foster the creation of a movement of informed people, ready to change their lifestyle and demand new development policies.
Since the beginning of 2020, 16 European partners – including civil society organizations, universities and NGOs – led by WeWorld, join forces to plan researches, surveys, debates in schools and universities as well as a panEuropean communication and awareness campaign, online and offline, targeting youth between 16 and 35 years of age, together with advocacy initiatives at local, national and European level.
“The ongoing Covid-19 emergency also shows us, now more than ever, how climate change has become a priority to address. The relationship with migratory phenomena is complex, but it is clear that climate change increases inequalities and fragility of the most vulnerable people – explains Natalia Lupi, Project Consortium Coordinator – There is a need to act urgently to address structural issues with an approach based on respect for human rights and to guarantee the participation of women in decision-making processes, who are often the most affected by crises but also the most capable of becoming the protagonists of change in their communities”.
At work is a heterogeneous team that has not stopped despite the health emergency, albeit in compliance with the provisions aimed at reducing contagion from Covid-19. That is why we were at the forefront in reshaping all the first steps and how, from March 30 to April 6, more than 50 people from our partner organizations from all over Europe met online during the kick-off meeting to get to know each other, discuss all aspects of the project in depth and evaluate together how to take the first steps.
We believe that in order to fully understand the impact of these phenomena it is necessary to start with the numbers. This is why the first step of the project is the field research that will involve the interdisciplinary team of the Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna – composed of experts in geography, law, agro-food sciences and technologies, sociology, political and social sciences – that will study the different aspects of this complex phenomenon in 4 countries: Cambodia, Ethiopia, Senegal and Guatemala. All territories affected, in different ways, by the effects of climate change but with a common aspect: the displacement of people.
“We will use the case studies as a basis from which to develop the theory in an inductive way – explains Pierluigi Musarò, Associate Professor of the Department of Sociology and Law of Economics at the Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna – The aim is to build a new theoretical framework on the link between climate change and migration”. The numbers are therefore fundamental to understand the causes and effects of the phenomenon but we are aware that they are not enough. Behind the numbers are people. For this reason, the research is accompanied by the activity on the communication campaign, in order to start working on digital and non-digital tools, to tell the stories of those who are forced to move. “We believe that partnerships between universities and organizations can create virtuous connections – concludes Professor Musarò – in this way we obtain relevant research, useful to improve intervention policies and awareness of the phenomenon in people”.
End Climate Change, Start Climate of Change is a project led by WeWorld, funded by the European Commission under the DEAR Programme (Development Education and Awareness Raising Programme), which supports projects involving EU citizens in social, economic and environmental issues of global relevance.
During the 40 months of intervention – through scientific research, activities in schools and universities, advocacy actions from the local to the European Parliament, and especially the involvement of young people in the dissemination of a pan-European communication and awareness campaign – our goal is to engage young Europeans to understand the complex relationship between climate change and the migration of people in or out of their country. And that’s not all. The ambition is 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 call for development policies to tackle global warming, recognising the latter, in its complexity, as one of the main drivers of migration and forced displacement of populations.