Issue 11 Editor's Note
September 29, 2021

With COP26 talks in Glasgow on the horizon, a global pandemic, and a looming climate crisis at the forefront of today’s climate news, the 2nd World Forum on Climate Justice—hosted by Caledonian University—could not have taken place at a more urgent time. Featuring some of the world’s foremost climate justice champions, the event tackled the upcoming COP26 talks and visions of a climate recovery in the wake of COVID-19. 

The event covered topics from disease spread, to food and water justice, to climate justice theory, to what a “just transition” would look like in practice. A diverse set of expertise from various keynote speakers and panelists encouraged challenging conversations about our current global predicament and, more importantly, what we can do about it. The Center was honored to participate in the World Forum’s climate-just finance and green recovery talks, but we know that we need a grassroots movement to make that vision of a more just and sustainable world truly possible.

And we saw that energy this week: hundreds of thousands of the world’s youth took to the streets across 1,500 cities and towns to voice their frustrations around the lack of urgency around climate change. This strike marked the first coordinated global climate action since the onset of the pandemic, which Fridays for Future, the strike’s organizer, hoped would live up to the record-breaking four million protestors who participated in 2019. Young activists turned out in countries from South Korea to Ghana, Brazil to India, and China to Peru. After a year and a half of grappling with COVID-19, this year’s strike tested whether the CJ movement could maintain its momentum. 

Protesting for just transitions in New York City. Image from: Shana Jade Trajanoska.

Climate strikers have a new message: “Uproot The System''. It’s a slogan that acknowledges how climate injustice is perpetuated by our status quo of neoliberal capitalist economies. “With COVID, climate, and every crisis in history, overexploited countries and marginalized sectors of society are systematically left behind to fend for themselves,” stated Fridays for the Future. “The historical victories of collective action have proven the need for the youth to stand united with the multisectoral, intergenerational struggle for a better future for all; a future where people and planet are prioritized.” 

The movement’s narrative follows six thematic points: climate reparations, climate responsibilities of the global North, climate refugees, vaccine injustice, Indigenous rights, and the social impacts on historically marginalized groups. Signs, buttons, and masks adorned by protestors represented these different aspects of the movement.

Representatives from Youth for Green Communities marched 25km (15.5 miles) calling on the Ugandan parliament to pass the National Climate Change Bill. Image from: Youth for Green Communities.

The protests come on the heels of a pivotal time in environmental politics in the U.S. and around the world. Alok Sharma, the President of the COP26 Summit, views it as the world’s ‘last best chance’ at preventing climate catastrophe. Fridays for Future will continue to put pressure on world leaders before the conference in November, striking on the steps of the UN this coming Friday and again on October 22nd around the globe. 

At the Center, we understand there is a place for both popular education and mass mobilization. Now is the time to wake up, galvanize and energize as many people as we can to fight for the future we all deserve. We are committed to doing everything in our power to educate, share, support and empower the global movement for climate justice. Stand with us.

Arielle Lee and Katelyn Buckley

Editor-in-Chief, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

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