END CLIMATE CHANGE, START CLIMATE OF CHANGE is a project funded by the European Commission in the framework of the DEAR (Development Education and Awareness Raising) Programme, which supports projects involving EU citizens in social, economic and environmental issues of global relevance.
The global average temperature is constantly increasing and the catastrophic consequences of climate change are more and more clear, even in the case of certain phenomena, such as the desertification or the loss of land productivity, which act over a longer time frame. But desertification, floods, cyclones and inundations do not just concern the environment. There are implications to be defined concerning all those people who leave their lands in search of an opportunity for a better life. The relationship between climate change and migratory phenomena is not simply one of cause and effect: on the contrary, it is a complex relationship, affecting many factors and variables. The most recent data shows that migration is on the rise: female and male workers, families and entire communities move mainly within their country, their region, the continent in which they live and, sometimes, even overseas.
The goal of End Climate Change, Start Climate of Change - in short #ClimateOfChange - the initiative funded by the European Commission in the framework of the DEAR (Development Education and Awareness Raising) Programme, which supports projects that involve citizens of the European Union in social, economic and environmental issues of global significance, is to stimulate young Europeans to understand the complex relationships between climate change and migration to create a movement of informed people, who are prepared to change their lifestyles and who demand new development policies.
Changing one's individual behaviour, however, is not enough: it is necessary to create a European network of young people who together take action to ask for collective change, at a local, national and European level. Joining forces to achieve this goal are 16 European organisations led by WeWorld - including civil society organisations, universities and NGOs - which since the beginning of 2020 have been working to design in synergy not only research and debates in schools and universities but also a pan-European communication and awareness-raising campaign, both online and offline, which will affect millions of boys and girls aged 16 to 35 living in 23 EU member states.
In fact, involving young people to be main characters in building societies that respect the principles of environmental and social justice is one of the cornerstones of our commitment to raise awareness.
The fundamental steps
#ClimateOfChange is structured in 4 main phases:
- Research. During the first year, an interdisciplinary team made up of professors and researchers from the Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna will travel to 4 countries of interest to discuss and study the phenomenon up close. At the same time Oxfam Germany will draw up a report on the concept of the Human Economy to highlight the interconnections between the production and consumption patterns in Europe with what happens in the countries most affected by the effects of climate change. Meanwhile, in 23 EU member countries, a survey will be held to find out the perception of young people on these issues and the level of knowledge.
- Awareness. Boys and girls will be the main characters of training activities that will make them more aware of the issues addressed. For this reason they will also participate in debates, following the "Exponi le tue idee (Expose your ideas)" methodology, that is an educational competition based on debate and contradiction addressed to schools and universities. Together with the action of local associations, they will, therefore, be at the forefront of understanding their role in the entire cycle of climate change and of its effects. Specifically to allow young people to learn about the complex phenomenon, some of them will be able to visit the 4 countries covered by the research conducted by the Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna and get to know the faces and stories of those forced to migrate up close.
- 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 not only. Young people will also be reached and be involved with numerous online activities, including commercials, webseries and social experiments created ad hoc. Live initiatives are also planned, such as the participation in festivals and the creation of TedX.
- Advocacy. Boys, girls and all partners will be engaged in advocacy activities at a local, national and European level in order to make their voices heard and to 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) of the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change. Thanks to three tours around Europe, the young people will also meet some representatives of the 4 countries covered by the research who will bring their testimony to strengthen and support the other advocacy actions envisaged by the project.
In the 40 months of intervention, the #ClimateOfChange project aims to create a movement of informed people not only prepared to change their habits in favour of a sustainable and responsible lifestyle but also willing to take action to ask 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 the populations. In fact, the basic idea that guides all our activities is that the fight against climate change brings its best results not exclusively through the will of the single individuals, but rather through a joint effort of the citizens and the political decision-makers.