Environment defence movements use occupations as strategy

One of the main goals of COP23 is to promote debate on sustainable development between governors, intergovernamental organizations, civil society and United Nations agencies.

The YMCA Camp Climate organization has attracted young people from many countries aiming to stimulate exchange, develop leadership and form delegates that may impact their communities. As part of the agenda, in the last wednesday (8) the organization has taken their young delegates to the occupation in Hambach forest.

Since april 2012, the forest is being occupied by activists against the exploitation of Renania coal mines, also known as Hambach forest. The group’s main critique is based on atmospheric pollution (carbon dioxide emissions) and in the destruction and contamination caused by the mineral, occasioning the mandatory rehousing of the people who live there.
The Forest Hambacher movement is characterized by their critical position against capitalism and the defense of sustainable development. “If we don’t do something, no one will. Our attitude is not only about living in the woods, but also about reducing the emission of the main cause of climate change”, said Richard Nowtz*, member of the movement, refering to CO2 emissions. Through the forest occupation and the treehouses building, the group has created an international network of activists in defense of their causes, attracting global attention to their urgent agenda.

The youth of YMCA had the opportunity to get to know the movement personally and exchange knowledges and experiences with the group. According to the activists, COP23 has attracted attention to the Hambach movement, but the radical position adopted by German government to reduce the greenhouse gases must be even more radical.
“This event is only an instrument for Germany to be admired due to its development for sustainable energy sources, like solar and wind. However, this is not enough. There is a lot to be made”, said Richard.

The YMCA delegation studied closely the reality lived by the activist, such as the really cold weather, the vegan diet and the occupation routine. “The experience contributed to the development and training of the young delegates, being fundamental in the process of education of our future leaders”, stated Mathilde Emile, volunteer leader of YMCA Camp Climate.
*Fake name to protect identity

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