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What Constitutes Effective Environmental Activism?

Posted: 15th December 2022

COP27 was a major climate conference that took place this year in Sharm El-Sheikh, where delegates and private companies came together to discuss further actions against climate change following its progression and effect on the newer generations. Since the 2015 Paris agreement, leaders and speakers from around the world have united to negotiate topics such as how to cut emissions and compensate for loses and damages that their countries have done, which have often had an impact on poorer countries.


COP27 challenges the leaders of countries who didn’t stay true to the promises they had made in the 2015 Paris agreement. There has been no set plan or funding in place. This is one of the several reasons we should aim to bring light to these issues, and COP27 confronts this. It was, after all, expected to be ‘a hot one this year…’


This is merely the fifth time the conference has been held in Africa, despite suffering significantly due to the consequences of climate change. There is a pressing need to focus on Africa’s role, and hardships in coordination with the climate crisis — these needs hope to be met through finance, technology, grants and bilateral deals.


We were fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to take part in a COP27-themed panel and had the chance to interview a speaker from Greenpeace (an organisation that investigates, documents, and exposes the causes of environmental destruction), and one from Client Earth, a charity that approaches activism through environmental law. We asked questions such as, “what sacrifices have you personally made for the environment?’’ and “to what extent can the climate be saved?’’ We hoped to ask these questions to get a clearer understanding of what environmental activism is and how we, as the younger generation, can do to make our own contribution. Our guests helpfully gave us a clearer standpoint on what is going on currently in this global crisis, as well as the long and short term contributions to fix this issue by 2050. We were fascinated to hear how Client Earth explained their organisation’s goals to lower carbon emission, by using the law to ensure that governments and corporate companies become more environmentally ethical; equally, we were very engaged by Greenpeace’s description of the many forms of public protest that best captivate the attention of the people and, more importantly, the government.

However, during the talk, we found that we all realised that the answers we seek are not so simple: the leaders that we’ve been relying on to represent our country and bring about the changes that we need, as the future generation, are actually failing us. As much as we, the rest of the students, and even the speakers on the panel, want to be assured that our work, commitment and sacrifices are worth it, it really feels as though our biggest hope is to pressure those in power to act and stick to their promises. As intriguing and eye-opening as the panel was, we must all still continue to question whether, and why, world leaders are making excuses to bypass this issue, when the conference was held principally to battle unnecessary uses of carbon emissions and fossil fuels? When will our representatives step up to their duties and fulfil their promises?

Essentially, can we really afford to wait for COP28 before some action can be taken?

By Robincella Brister and Antonia Schewitz, students

Categories: Uncategorised