Fridays for Future: The Movements You Should Know About If You Care For The Environment
You've heard it already. Our world is warming up day by day and we're at the point that if we don't do something and change our habits completely, we won't be able to save the environment. It sounds harsh and very alarming, it's about time we did something!
If you belong to the people conscious about the situation, and we hope you do, then we have good news for you: there's always something you can do! Even if you feel like it's a small step and might be insignificant, in the long run it'll change a ton! Switching to more sustainable home decor could be your first step towards living more environmentally.
And if you feel like you need some support on your journey towards more sustainable lifestyle, don't worry, Project Nord got you covered. There's plenty of activist movements from all around the world you can join or support, and make sure you're changing the world!
Fridays for Future
“I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”-
Greta Thunberg, World Economic Forum, Davos, 24 January 2019
Fridays for Future, probably the most significant movement of our lifetime, started in August 2018. Back then, only 15-year-old Greta Thunberg starting striking against climate change and the lack of solutions the governments are willing to take upon. She simply stopped attending school on Fridays, sitting in front of the Swedish parliament instead. And three weeks from then, Fridays for Future were born, with both young and adult supporters joining all over the world and striking for better future.
And that's Sweden, a country that pledges to reduce their carbon emissions by 40% by 2020 and go completely zero carbon by 2045 at the latest. How about the other countries then? The ones that haven't implemented any solutions whatsoever so far, or are just talking about “something” that could be done? Let's have a look!
Climate Central is more of a platform than a movement, but in the end of the day, when it comes to climate crisis, there's not much of a difference. The point is to actually do something! More so when this media platform comes from The US, which, to be honest is by far not at the same level of carbon reducing as Sweden.
Climate Central's mission is to “communicate the science and effects of climate change to the public and decision-makers”, engaging top scientists and journalists to research and report on current state and future predictions on climate crisis. It's independent media, but behind it stands some of the best scientists of today, professionals like Heidi Cullen, the chief scientist for Climate Central. Mrs. Cullen definitely knows how to target people so she can get their attention. She first made her way on-air through the Weather Channel and later working on a series Years of Living Dangerously. As Cullen says: “If scientists fail to communicate the significant risks associated with burning fossil fuels, we’ll never achieve the policy action needed to prevent a worst-case scenario.” Way to go!
The Green Belt Movement
Let's travel even further! But only on a map, not on the climate activism ladder. Do you know why? Because even though it seems like the Western World is forgetting that there are other continents worthy of a news coverage, when it comes to climate activism, Africa is way before us!
The Green Global Movement was founded already in 1977 by Professor Wangari Maathai, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. This movement started helping Kenyan women, who reported that the water stream were drying up, they had to walk further to collect firewood and the food supply became less secure. Maathai started a movement where women planted trees around the damaged areas to bind the soil, store rainwater, provide food and firewood and even get some wage for doing so.
It's sad and distressing how little attention is paid to African countries, one of the areas most stricken by the climate change and the ones doing the most to prevent it. For example, so many developing countries around the world managed to ban plastic bags, such as Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa. Bangladesh being the first country to ever put a ban on plastic bags already in 2002! Or Rwanda, the first country to ban all non-biodegradable plastic in 2008! If you put a price tag on something, that only means people will buy it and the manufacturers will even profit from it. But it doesn't mean they will stop using it. How come that it took Western World until 2010s to do so?
Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA)
New Zealand is definitely one of the most progressive countries of today. This nation of 5 million people lives on 270 000 km2, fairly large-size piece of land. And so they have to manage to take care of it. Being able and willing to make huge changes in law so that it's people live in a better and safer land is unfortunately a rare thing in the world. But New Zealanders prove that there's still hope for all of us.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the climate change her generation's “nuclear free moment”, making a point the same as in 1970s activism was on the rise because of nuclear weapons. Today we can see the it happening due to another global threat. And so it's no surprise that the number of activist movements are growing in New Zealand exponentially. CANA has started in 2007 and has that same energy that CND, or Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, had back in the 70s.
And it's working! In December 2018, 15 000 activists marched through the streets of Wellington and only few months later, the New Zealand's government banned the offshore oil mining and declined entry to their ports for all tycoons carrying oil on board.
CANA recognizes coal as the biggest threat to our climate system, and so they promote climate justice and are trying for NZ to be free of coal mining by 2027. And as the agriculture has a defining role in climate change, CANA is trying to work hand- in- hand with the industry to find more sustainable solutions.
And yes, New Zealand was one of the first Western World countries to ban plastic!
Ridhima Pandey and the future of India
With legislation coming into force on 2nd October 2022, India will ban 6 most common types of single-use plastic. Plastic bags, cups, plates, bottles, straws and sachets. With its 1.4 billion population, it shows the real leadership and that if we're determined to change something, it's always possible.
And take this. As of 2015, there were about 300 million people in India living without electricity. That's whole population of The US. And as of 2019, United State has applied no ban on plastics whatsoever!
Maybe something moved after the 2017 official complaint filed against Indian government by only 9-year-old Ridhima Pandey. She sued the government because of the lack of actions taken in India to deal with climate change issues, despite the government being aware of them.
And here it comes all together. During the latest UN Climate Action Summit in late September, 16 environmental activist filed a complaint, stating that Member States' failure of delivering sufficient solution to climate crisis is a violation of child rights.
What can you do if you care
We all admire climate activists, whether it's the youth activists like Ridhima Pandey, Greta Thunberg or scientists making a change, like Johan Rockström, Charles David Keeling. Or even well-known people using their influence to raise meaningful conversation, like Leonardo DiCaprio or Mark Ruffalo. But not all of us can get into the spotlight. That of course doesn't mean you should sit tight and do nothing!
Ban single-use plastics yourself
Maybe a difficult step, as we're surrounded by plastics on a daily basis and many times they're even where we expect them the least. But just live by the motto EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE and this time, you won't be changing only your own life, but the lives of of many around you.
You can start by skipping any plastic bags available to you. Even if you forget to take your tote bag for groceries, try to ask personnel in the store for an alternative, such as cardboard boxes, gift bags you can reuse later on, or just carry smaller items of shopping in your hands. And PLEASE, never put vegetables and fruits into any additional packaging. Actually, try to avoid buying the ones already wrapped in plastic altogether. Nature has its own way of protecting those goods. And at the end of the day, the amount of chemicals we dip them in don't need any additional help. But that's another conversation.
Be conscious about your purchases
So often during the day we buy material things we end up not using, or forgetting about completely. So, next time you're making a purchase, think about whether you're really going to use that thing and how much you actually need it. Also consider what are you going to do with it at the end of its life cycle. Is it just going to be tossed into trash or can it actually find a new purpose? Maybe you can resell it or donate? That's up to you, but try to stop buying things that clutter your home and the environment at the same time.
It's up to us consumers to stop the demand for unnecessary or polluting goods. Once we stop buying them, there's no point in producing them.
Become an environmental activist
Well, probably the best way to actually do something about the climate change is to become a climate change activist. Whether you live in one of the big capitals such as London, Copenhagen or Paris, or in a small town, it doesn't matter. You can either join an existing movement or start your own one! That's even better. The more vocal we are about the issue, the faster the change will happen.
Use your online platforms for a good cause
From everywhere you hear how harmful social media is for our mental health. Then why not use it wisely, and for a good cause? You don't have to share horrifying and alarming news only. You can also share the progress done in the world every day.
Since we all spend so much time on social media daily, we can at least be vocal and share things we care about. Maybe at first it won't have much of a response, but don't get discouraged! It will be seen and heard, and that's good enough.
Kindness is the key
Probably most important of all- be kind! And it goes for everything. Respect other people's opinions. If you disagree with your friends on something, it doesn't mean you have to get into a fight right away. Listen to people's arguments, and if you still don't share the same opinion, that's okay. Conversation is there to discuss things we both agree and disagree about. The best way of solving a problem is always to talk about it.
And same goes for the environment. If we can manage to be kind to people around us, and let's be honest, none of us are always on our best behaviour, we can definitely manage to be kind to nature. After all, it's here for us, providing a home for everyone. So we owe it quite a bit. The least we can do in return is be kind to the Earth!
We honestly hope this article will be an inspiration for you and you'll reconsider some of your life choices. And if you're already part of the environmental movement, that's amazing! One more person we are all grateful for!
Written by Lujza Grossmanová
Images sourced from Pinterest