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Our self-image

We are a youth asso­ci­a­tion from Ger­many that cur­rent­ly has a pri­mar­i­ly white, aca­d­e­m­ic, and priv­i­leged per­spec­tive on the cli­mate cri­sis due to our back­grounds. We would like to con­tin­ue work­ing on becom­ing more inclu­sive and diverse.

Climate justice in the context of Global North and South

One of our main goals is to advo­cate for greater cli­mate jus­tice. (For a more detailed def­i­n­i­tion of cli­mate jus­tice, see here: Cli­mate Jus­tice And Envi­ron­men­tal Jus­tice — Black Earth Col­lec­tive or here: Cli­mate Jus­tice — Green­peace Kids.)

We are a Ger­man youth asso­ci­a­tion and are there­fore part of the Glob­al North. So his­tor­i­cal­ly we belong to the main con­trib­u­tors of the cli­mate cri­sis and its con­se­quences. This results in a respon­si­bil­i­ty for us. Peo­ple in the Glob­al South, who have lit­tle or no respon­si­bil­i­ty for the cli­mate cri­sis, are often the worst affect­ed by its con­se­quences. We see that we can only speak of and about cli­mate jus­tice to a lim­it­ed extent because we are in the priv­i­leged posi­tion of the Glob­al North and are less affect­ed by the con­se­quences of this injus­tice. There­fore, when it comes to cli­mate jus­tice, we see our role as lis­ten­ing to those most affect­ed by the con­se­quences of the cli­mate cri­sis on the one hand, but on the oth­er hand we also see it as our respon­si­bil­i­ty to cre­ate more space for voic­es and ideas from the Glob­al South. The lat­ter means that we have to active­ly take a back seat in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions. Addi­tion­al­ly, we con­clude from our respon­si­bil­i­ty that we want to show sol­i­dar­i­ty with and learn from cli­mate activist and jus­tice move­ments from the Glob­al South. Above all, we would like to ensure that Ger­many accepts its his­tor­i­cal­ly-grown respon­si­bil­i­ty in cli­mate mit­i­ga­tion and cli­mate adap­ta­tion. Cli­mate jus­tice must be the guid­ing prin­ci­ple of all polit­i­cal mea­sures relat­ed to the cli­mate crisis.

And last, but all the more impor­tant for that, is that cli­mate jus­tice does not work with­out decol­o­niza­tion and anti-racism. In this con­text, we rec­og­nize that we uncon­scious­ly repro­duce racism and live racist struc­tures in our asso­ci­a­tion. There­fore, we see our full respon­si­bil­i­ty in reflect­ing and work­ing through these struc­tures in order to avoid future racist behav­ior. In doing so, how­ev­er, we also rec­og­nize that this is a nev­er-end­ing process that we firm­ly embed in our asso­ci­a­tion structures.

Climate justice in an intergenerational sense

In addi­tion to the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the Glob­al North in work­ing for cli­mate mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion, we also see inter­gen­er­a­tional issues as an impor­tant area of our work. Young peo­ple will be affect­ed longer and more than old­er gen­er­a­tions. There­fore, they should also be heard more and par­tic­i­pate in the deci­sions that will sig­nif­i­cant­ly shape their future.

In addi­tion, we also try to address oth­er social dimen­sions such as fem­i­nist and anti-cap­i­tal­ist per­spec­tives in our work.

Our work also includes nam­ing the cli­mate cri­sis as part of mul­ti­ple socio-eco­log­i­cal crises (e.g. bio­di­ver­si­ty) and find­ing solu­tions that do not play the crises off against each oth­er or rein­force them. We are also guid­ed by the con­cept of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, which encom­pass­es not only ecol­o­gy, but also social and eco­nom­ic aspects.

Our role

In sum­ma­ry, we see our­selves as civ­il soci­ety actors who polit­i­cal­ly advo­cate for glob­al and inter­gen­er­a­tional cli­mate jus­tice and act as hinges between the demands from the street and the process­es of pol­i­tics to achieve per­ma­nent effec­tive mea­sures and struc­tures. As an asso­ci­a­tion from Ger­many, we main­ly try to influ­ence Ger­man deci­sion mak­ers and act pri­mar­i­ly on the Euro­pean and inter­na­tion­al lev­el. Here we let our under­stand­ing of cli­mate jus­tice flow into the polit­i­cal dis­course and empha­size the spe­cial his­tor­i­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty of Ger­many. Based on this, we call for sig­nif­i­cant­ly stronger efforts in cli­mate pro­tec­tion and adap­ta­tion at nation­al and Euro­pean lev­el as well as spe­cial finan­cial and tech­ni­cal sup­port in the Glob­al South.

We also see an edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion as part of our role. In work­shops and through our social media chan­nels, we want to reach many oth­er peo­ple and draw more atten­tion to issues such as cli­mate jus­tice and youth par­tic­i­pa­tion in cli­mate policy.

How we work

In our work, we want to be trans­par­ent inter­nal­ly and exter­nal­ly and bring many per­spec­tives into the asso­ci­a­tion through an inclu­sive atmos­phere. We want to hon­est­ly accept oth­er per­spec­tives (than our own) and learn from our mis­takes. We want to take respon­si­bil­i­ty and edu­cate our­selves anti-racist and decolo­nial. We want to con­stant­ly ques­tion our projects, guide­lines and struc­tures. To review our work reg­u­lar­ly, we con­sult BIPoC experts. We want to use our priv­i­leges more to give space to peo­ple from the Glob­al South.

How do we develop our positions?

In devel­op­ing cli­mate pol­i­cy posi­tions, we are aware that we repro­duce an under­stand­ing of knowl­edge from the Glob­al North that is based on cap­i­tal­ism and colo­nial­ism. We want to reflect this crit­i­cal­ly on an ongo­ing basis by includ­ing exter­nal expert knowl­edge. The results of the Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Pan­el on Cli­mate Change (IPCC) are fun­da­men­tal for us, but we also want to con­sid­er indige­nous knowl­edge, expe­ri­ence reports and sto­ries on the same lev­el in the devel­op­ment of our positions.

Our self-under­stand­ing is part of a process of reflec­tion. The for­mer self-image can be found by click­ing on the but­ton. It does not reflect our cur­rent self-under­stand­ing any­more or only in parts.