A UN Conference on Climate Change is not just about negotiations carried out by the great world leaders around a table or in a plenary. Civil society is also discussing the future of the global and local movement for climate justice. After all, there is no doubt about the capacity for mobilization and political pressure that the climate movement has today.
By Abel Rodrigues | YPA Brazil
Translation: Pedro Tufic
In Glasgow, we are already on the third day of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). And in this small town in Scotland, the public policies that will be adopted to fight the challenge of our generation are being discussed: the climate crisis. Just like the Montreal Protocol or the Paris Agreement, projects and solutions to effectively combat the climate emergency are expected to come out of here. But outside the negotiating table of the great world leaders, a lot is happening too.
There is no doubt about the capacity for mobilization and political pressure that the climate movement has today. From NGOs to social movements, the climate movement today multiplies in many faces and types, from moderation to radicalism, from contact with institutions to the call for civil disobedience. In Glasgow, all these faces and many more meet, two years after the last COP. Here, world leaders discuss the future of the Planet, and civil society discuss the future of the climate justice movement
Fridays for Future Brazil delegate Mikaelle Farias, from João Pessoa, despite being reticent, hopes that political leaders can demonstrate more ambition and aim for meaningful action against the climate crisis.
“I believe that to fight a crisis, we need to unite with institutions, with non-governmental organizations, with party organizations, to put pressure on those in power, because they are the ones who have the power to do something,” Mikaelle said.
Right after our conversation, Mikaelle had to hurry to receive the Governor of the State of São Paulo, João Dória, along with the Fridays for Future Brasil delegation, for a talk about climate education. Meanwhile, Paloma Costa, Youth Adviser to the UN Secretary General, was preparing the arrival of six more indigenous youths for the COP. For Paloma, official institutions are important in the fight against the climate crisis, and if there is criticism of their structures, we need to make a change from within.
Later, and outside all the pomp and security of the COP, Marcelo Rocha, Executive Director of the Ayika Institute, prepared actions on the streets of Glasgow against the climate inaction of world leaders. In Marcelo’s view, street actions are complementary to the COP, which works as a space for training leaders.
Regarding the relationship between institutionality and the climate struggle, Marcelo gives little importance to an eventual rivalry, and reflects that institutionality is nothing more than the search to believe in the purpose of structures. Therefore, institutions would not be an end, but an eternal attempt to maintain what is believed to be.
In the coming days, the world will closely observe the first signs of negotiations between political leaders, and the reaction of the entire civil society that sees every step of these decisions firsthand. After all, this is the ultimate COP, and failing should not be an option.