Introducing Feasta’s COP26 Delegation in Support of the Youth Climate Justice Movement

FEASTA is proud to support the youth climate justice movement by nominating several young activists from Ireland and around the world to be delegates as part of FEASTA’s accredited observer status at the UNFCCC at the next climate conference (COP-26) to be held in early November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Check out the amazing things these young people have already done, and please click the links and support their organizations!

Beth

I’m Beth, I’m 18 from Dublin and I work with FFF Ireland, Global Choices Arctic Angels, and Climate Rights Ireland. I’ve been involved in furthering education on sustainable development, Climate Case Ireland, and organising strikes here in Dublin. This COP is our last chance for action, and I hope to work with others to achieve agreements based on climate justice, binding targets based on science, mechanisms for accountability, and genuine, structural change to challenge the roots of this crisis.

Iona

My name is Iona. I’m 17 years old and live in Limerick City. I am an active member of the Fridays for Future (FFF) movement in Ireland.  As a core member of the FFF Limerick team, I led the organisation of the November 29th strike and co-organised several other strikes. Details of my involvement includes delivering key speeches, writing media pieces and doing radio interviews. I represented FFF Limerick as a speaker at an important Limerick Against Pollution city rally in October 2019, and am becoming involved in the National Meetings of FFF Ireland.

In terms of school-related environmental activities, I am a core member of the Green Schools Team (working towards second Green Flag), co-led our recent single-use plastic elimination programme, and am an An Taisce Climate Ambassador.  Last November, I was a delegate at the RTÉ Youth Assembly on Climate, at which my proposal reached the final debate stage.  My proposal for the RTÉ Youth Assembly on Climate was for stronger harnessing of the co-operative model (in the Irish context) as a positive economic measure; this model has proven globally to enable economic livelihoods while at the same time addressing the needs of environmental sustainability.

Sarah

My name is Sarah and I’m an 18-year-old Autistic climate activist from Dublin, Ireland. I’ve been an organizer with Fridays For Future for a year and a half and other organizations prior to that. I hope to attend COP to put pressure on decision makers to uproot the system by taking major measures to cut emissions and transition to a more sustainable economy while ensuring a just transition.

Salim

Hey! My name is Salim. I’m 17, and I’ve been a climate activist for over 2 years now. I’m affiliated with FridaysForFuture (FFF), the Schools Climate Action Network (SCAN), and the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU).  The two areas of focus for my activism are Education and Transport. In Ireland, we’re finally getting Education on Sustainable Development (ESD), through the Sustainability short course for Junior Cycle. ESD is key to inspiring change in climate action, so I hope to continue this at COP26. Furthermore, I want to lobby for safer routes to school. With the Love30 campaign, we’re pushing for accessibility and safety in getting around our communities.

I’m attending COP26 to lobby officials for legislative change for climate action. To quote the well-known saying; “System Change, not Climate Change” – we cannot build good structure on bad foundations. With that in mind, I hope to push for a major change in policy to ensure proper climate action.”

Marina

I am Marina, a 17 years old climate justice activist from Brazil who has been working with Fridays For Future Brazil and FFF MAPA / International, MockCOP, and Climate Live. In my activism work, I focus especially on engaging more people through intersectional education with a more accessible and human approach to the climate crisis; tanging international relations and the responsibility of Global North leaders as well. I want to attend COP26 because I want to raise my voice by the side of other youth activists, focusing on how MAPA countries are already suffering the consequences of the lack of action coming from the leaders that will be there. Moreover, policies in the line of Action For Climate Empowerment and justice reparation are the ones I am most interested in.

Theresa

My name is Theresa and I am a 17 year old Indian Irish climate activist from the rebel county of Cork, Ireland. I am originally from Kerala in the Southern part of India. My active work towards climate justice began when my state was extremely flooded in the torrential monsoon rains of 2018. It was a scary time for me as I saw fields submerged and towns “swimming”. I came home safely to Ireland and decided I had to hold myself accountable for that privilege. I went on to work with Fridays For Future on a local (Cork), national (Ireland) and international basis. I then founded an international NGO called Re Earth Initiative. I also held an international conference to promote and compile research on climate education that saw the likes of Kumi Naidoo and Xiye Bastida give speeches and had participants from 25+ countries attend. I now have projects based in Ireland like Able2Change, a youth empowerment project and the Climate Assembly, which is a youth led assembly to curate demands and keep our decisionmakers accountable.

I am attending COP to make sure that the justice I advocate for is made vocal at every meeting there. I want to share information with my peers about what actually goes on there. I will continuously tweet and update on my stories to educate and show people what happens. I will continuously hear what people want to say and make sure those things are being heard by those who attend. I want to get as involved in the nitty gritty of policy and ensure that wherever I can get the words climate justice in, they will be heard.

Implementing climate justice has never been impossible. The resources, the solutions have always been here. It was about convincing those in power to accept the solutions and make the resources. We have had what we needed to achieve climate justice for years, but those in power chose short term greed and ignored indigenous wisdom.

Policies I would like to promote – complete shutdown of the fossil fuel industry before 2030, and returning to a circular economy.

Monica

My name is Monica, I am 19 years old and come from Ballinacurra, Limerick. I grew up and went to school in Limerick, and started college in Dublin last September. I’m enrolled in an unusual undergraduate programme – I’m doing a dual BA run by Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University, in New York City. I will spend all four years as a student of both universities (for first and second year I live in Dublin, in third and fourth year I’ll be based in the USA), and will graduate with two degrees- one from Trinity and one from Columbia. I’m studying history, languages and politics and will get a degree in European Studies from Trinity and a degree in political science from Columbia.

I’ve always been interested in politics, and hope to work in an NGO or similar later on. While in secondary school, I won multiple essay competitions related to Irish and international politics and I am really enjoying studying political science in college. I have always been interested in the climate, and became a member of Fridays for Future Limerick in 2019. While it was at its peak, I was a very active member of FFF Limerick – I missed school almost every Friday of fifth year to take part in climate protests, and helped organise larger scale marches. I also spoke at protests and ran a lot of the movement’s social media.

I would like to attend COP this year because I think it would be an amazing opportunity to see where political theory and activism collide – I’m lucky enough to be (somewhat!) familiar with how both work, and think that attending COP 26 in November would not only help me learn more about what needs to be done by activists like myself to resolve the climate crisis, but also would teach me more about the world of politics and in turn help me with my studies.

Amy

My name is Amy and I am a writer, activist and advocate. I’m an organiser with Fridays for Future International and we have worked very hard in the past year to ensure young people from areas most affected by climate change or the Global South can attend COP26! However, we also want to use the conference to bring together activists who are continuously working together from around the world including Ireland and I am one of those people. Also, leaders have consistently let us down on climate action when the change we need must be imminent to avoid destruction but youth voices have risen non the less and we need to actually be heard!

I have been working with Fridays For Future International on the Standard Chartered Bank campaign to pressure the UK bank into divesting from fossil fuels, vaccine equity campaigns, working with Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA) by Climate Change and global climate strike planning.  I am an editor of the Fridays for Future international newsletter.  I am co-chair of my local youth county council called Cork County Comhairle na Nog where I worked on Mental Health and Stress in year 1 by facilitating a webinar on the topic and in year 2 ran an Instagram feminist takeover for International Women’s Day and is now working on the topic of Body Image and Eating Disorders.  I host the Sustainable Sleepover Club podcast.  I am working on the Stop Cambo campaign to stop the UK from approving the new Cambo Oil and Gas field.

Theo

My name is Theo, and I am an 18 year old climate activist and writer who has been an active member of the youth climate movement in Ireland and internationally for the past 3 years.  I striked from school weekly until the onset of the COVID pandemic along with my sister, and I helped to organise the strikes in Ireland when tens of thousands of young people took to the streets across the country.  I am a member of the Fridays for Future Ireland movement, as well as the broader Fridays for Future network internationally, and I have collaborated with both Irish and European NGOs on different campaigns.  I also am incredibly fortunate to have grown up on an offshore island – Clare Island, in Co. Mayo, and this has afforded me a unique perspective on the climate crisis, as well giving me first hand experience with it.  My main goal at COP would be to continue to do what I have already been doing – protesting the continued, criminal inaction of world leaders in the face of the greatest crisis of our time.  I believe that it is critical that as many voices as possible are in attendance at COP in order to continue to sound the alarm, and prompt greater action on the climate crisis.  I believe one of the main obstacles facing decisive climate action is the powerful vested interests of the fossil fuel industry, and one of my main aims would be to call out their presence and greenwashing at COP, as I was involved in doing at last COP as well.

Saoirse

Hey, I’m Saoirse, I’m 16 and I’m a climate activist from Limerick. I began my activism in March 2019 through founding the Limerick branch of the Fridays for Future movement and striking every Friday. Since then, I have broadened my involvement in activism, and my understanding of the world around me in the process. In January 2020, I became a Climate Ambassador with an Taisce, with which I won an Outstanding Award for my activism. In October 2020, I was selected as a Country Coordinator for the Conference for Youth 16, the UNFCCC’s youth conference that will write a statement to feed into COP26. I will be attending the event in Glasgow as a delegate, as well as my capacity as one of Ireland’s Country Coordinators. In June 2020, I was elected as Equality Officer of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union, where I worked to uphold student voice among many other things. In November 2020, I was selected to become one of fourteen members of C40’s Global Youth and Mayors Forum, which is one half of an Intergenerational Dialogue between mayors of the biggest mega-cities in the world, such as Los Angeles and Freetown and youth activists from every corner of the world.  In March 2021, through my involvement in Comhairle na nÓg, I became a member of the Youth Advisory Group for the Environmental Protection Agency where I contributed to the youth engagement consultation and strategy and presented the consultation’s findings to the Senior Leadership Team. In May 2021, I furthered my involvement in student activism through joining the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s Youth Work Committee where I represent the young people of Limerick. The same month, I also became a member of the National Youth Council of Ireland’s Young People’s Committee, where we work on campaigns surrounding issues that will primarily affect today’s young people in their adulthood. In July 2021, I began my second term as Equality Officer and joined the European Youth Parliament, where I participate in structured debates surrounding a wide variety of issues such as the climate crisis and gender inequality.

I would like to bring the perspective of youth climate activists and students to COP26, as well as upholding the voices of MAPA and of those often sidelined.  I want to represent Ireland, my city and students everywhere to remind leaders that we are in a crisis and young people will have to deal with the consequences. COP26 will be a crucial turning point in climate discussions, and without the involvement of activists and specifically young people, the conference will be fruitless in terms of radical and much-needed climate action.

Saoirse has also received accreditation to the conference from the Green European Foundation.

Feasta is honored to support these young activists in their journey to COP-26.  Be on the lookout for more blogs from and about them in the next few weeks and months.  After you have visited all their great sites, please also take a moment to go to the CapGlobalCarbon site, which describes FEASTA’s vision for a global cap on carbon with revenues returned back to people as a climate dividend. Perhaps these young activists can make it happen!

Featured image: Climate Strike in Geneva, September 2019. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GrèveClimatGenève-27sept2019-041-RuesBasses.jpg

Note: Feasta is a forum for exchanging ideas. By posting on its site Feasta agrees that the ideas expressed by authors are worthy of consideration. However, there is no one ‘Feasta line’. The views of the article do not necessarily represent the views of all Feasta members. 

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