Andrea Miltiadous from Cyprus
During 11/06 – 16/06 I had the opportunity to join YFoEE’s first Hybrid Summit “Error 404 [Name] Justice Not found”. This involved morning, afternoon and sometimes evening sessions revolving around the European Green Deal.
Even being 17 years old without much experience in environmental and social justice activism, the European Green Deal rang a bell. Sure, I’ve looked it up, read summaries and overviews regarding its main objectives but I never really delved deep into it. Nonetheless, YFoEE thankfully organized an outstanding vent with incredible speakers and interactive discussions.
We unraveled every pillar of the European Green Deal: Climate, Intersectionality, Mobility, Food, Energy, Biodiversity. To keep it short, we explored each sector and met fascinating personalities who have made it their job and duty to work for the environment and society’s good and have come up with innovative ideas and proposals for a far more effective European Green Deal.
I’d now like to introduce some key events which served as quite the eye opener for me. Firstly, in the session whose epicenter was intersectionality, Raki Ap highlighted that Indigenous people make up just 5% Earth’s population but protect 80% of its biodiversity, yet so many are facing genocide and ecocide as well as the absence of any protection by any type of institution. Moreover, through our fruitful discussions during the summit it struck me how the responsibility of tackling the climate crisis is often purposely diverted to the individuals when we need institutional and systemic change and a EGD that is in strict alignment with the people’s resources and abilities and not one which puts the fault and burden on marginalized communities.
Last but not least, an unforgettable experience for me was meeting our MEPs. I myself met Sirpa Pietikäinen. She is a Member of the European Parliament who is fighting for gender equality, women’s rights and food security among plenty other inspiring work. What I found most eye-opening was how much she agreed with us.
Regarding the European Green Deal, she emphasized having fought for a higher percentage of carbon emission reductions by 2030 that complies with science and our 2050 goal. Be that as it may, we tend to forget that there are politicians who truly care and work for us, which made her honesty and work ethic even more encouraging. There was thus a sense of hope lingering in the air; even through the cold screens. Nevertheless she was of course honest and underlined that a lot of her colleagues were inactive, but personally that only further motivated me to hopefully someday be a part of the European Parliament and do my part for more effective policies.
A special thank you goes out to all coordinators of the event as well as our digital artist from Visuality — who took our ideas and innovatively transformed them into something we could all see, making it much easier for us to visualize our ideas about what governments, institutions, businesses, communities and individuals can do so justice can be achieved in each sector for our own youth proposal. It was a pleasure working, discussing and creating with each and every one of Young Friends of the Earth team and co-organizers!
If you want to get in touch with us and learn more about the project, contact YFoEE!
This event is organised with the financial support of the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and the European Union and was co-organised by: Advaya, Amigos de la Tierra, A sud, BUNDjugend NRW, CAN Europe, EcoResolution, Eesti Roheline Liikumine, European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Equinox: Initiative for Racial Justice, European Coordination via Campesina, European Cyclist Federation, Food & Water Action Europe, Friends of the Earth Cyprus, Friends of the Earth Ireland, Friends of the Earth Malta, Gastivists, GLOBAL 2000, Kolektiv-Z, Right to Energy, Smartup – social innovation lab, Ulex Project, Ungdom NOAH, Union of Justice, Yes to Life, No to Mining, Young Friends of the Earth Europe, Zelena akcija / FoE Croatia