By V'Cenza Cirefice - 21 September 2018
The Young Friends of the Earth Europe Summer Camp took place in Cyprus this year between the 3rd and 9th of September. High up in the pine forests of the Troodos mountains the international group of 55 young people shared stories of resistance in many different contexts, depicting the differences and commonalities in our struggles. Focusing on a theme of intersectionality, the camp provided a fertile space for both seasoned and new activists to explore this essential component of environmentalism.
We explored how climate change is felt differently along identities of gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, race and migration status. In turn, this informed our training sessions in popular education, power and privilege and inclusive facilitation, aiming to help us in building a more inclusive movement that engages with diverse people and groups. This is the crucial point if we are serious about environmental justice that leaves no one behind in our struggle.
During the camp we discussed reproductive rights in Ireland and Argentina and why they are part of environmental justice. We heard of struggles from Young Friends of the Earth Africa, including cases from Mozambique, Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria. We learnt about mining in Colombia and visited a community resisting mining in Cyprus. From across the world we shared stories that show the realities of our extractive, profit-driven system. A system rooted in oppressive structures of capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism and white supremacy. If we are to overcome it we must see all struggles against oppression as interrelated. We must listen to the voices and fully engage with those marginalised in society who face the worst impacts of climate change.
V'cenza Cirefice is part of Young Friends of the Earth Ireland and Cyprus. She is an activist and researcher in the area of gender and environmental justice