During this experience we have learned a lot, first and foremost we were introduced to topics related to climate change that were new to us. One of the workshops that we attended was related to climate justice & sexuality. At first it does not look directly related, and that is because it isn’t. However, indirectly climate change affects people with a different sexuality very much. The LGBTQA+ community is in some countries very marginalised, it is known that marginalised groups will feel the consequences of climate change the most. For example, the LGBTQA+ community is most likely one of the groups that will suffer unemployment because of climate change.
Apart from the workshops in the last few days we also were supposed to be part of a demonstration. However, the organizers of the camp had been informed that Greta Thunberg was in the Hambach Forest. The Hambach Forest is an ancient forest that is being destroyed for the purpose of expanding the lignite coal mine. To read more about this, please click here. The people that live there have been occupying the forest for five years. We walked from our camp to the Hambach Forest to meet Greta, the girl that with her voice has reached so many influential people and is still fighting for a better future. After we arrived at the forest, we were informed that meeting Greta was not possible, because of her safety, the people that live in the forest decided it was best if we did not come. It was a shame, but half of the group went on a day trip to Mannheim, the town just next to Hambach Forest, which is currently under the process of destruction/being torn down.
Back at the camp we had an afternoon ‘off’, so some of us went on a walk around the camping area. During this walk we came across a beautiful contradiction. While walking in a giant field of grass, we saw two wind turbines on our left, and on our right, we saw the Ruhrgebiet (the coal power plants). We stood still, just to take it in and to think about this view. Here we saw the so called ‘solution’ and the problem. It also gave us more motivation to talk, to think, and to get even more empowered. The camp came to an end, looking back we have learned a lot about different topics. We got to see what activism in action is in Germany, and we have met activists from all over Europe.
The most important thing that we can take away from this experience is that we are not alone in our battle, there are a lot of other young people that want to see and be the change. We have made friendships, we have been exposed to people from different contexts and have learned a lot from them. It was a good experience and one that has given us even more energy to carry on the fight against climate change.
The camp we attended was organised by Young Friends of the Earth Europe & BUNDjugend Nordrhein-Westfalen.