Blog

Reclaiming Our Future

A few youths climbed over a fence and pulled up a ladder. The sunbeams hit the blue sky, and the wind was still. One after another, they climbed onto a big oil truck and pulled out a large banner that read, “Oil and fossil fuel are killing current and future generations.”

Olga, a youth climate activist, began her engagement in the newly built movement called “Reclaim the Future.” The purpose behind the movement is to use peaceful civil disobedience and direct action to highlight the urgent triple planetary crisis. Reclaim the Future describes itself as a movement by young people, for young people—a radical community committed to taking care of each other and peacefully standing against the industries that threaten our chances for life: the fossil fuel industries.

The driving force behind Olga’s engagement, as she herself notes, is “Since the situation is so urgent, we need to use all possible tools to prevent a disaster, and I wanted to try to make as much difference as possible.” Reclaim the Future stands out from other climate youth movements in Sweden since we direct our actions primarily at the fossil fuel industry, but also because we have as a foundational pillar to take care of each other.

Many climate justice activists today risk burnout, and therefore, we need to take care not only of the earth but also ourselves. Olga has learned throughout the years that the fight for climate justice is not a short sprint but rather a long marathon—a commitment that requires both sustainability and community. We cannot burn ourselves at both ends as our politicians do by not acting while the earth is covered in flames. We need to rest simply to navigate this crisis, and no one should feel guilty about that—because when one person rests, there are others out there who can take over. Community is central to building resilience for us as a movement and individuals, and it is also a central part of building holistic well-being for all living things, including the earth.

Momentum in Stockholm has enabled us to create just that—a welcoming and safe space for our community to flourish. We have painted banners ahead of actions, made community meals, held workshops about climate justice and wellbeing, played board games, and simply rested. The most valuable contribution that Momentum has provided our movement with is the fact that it’s a space where our activism is not challenged or questioned; rather, it is encouraged and celebrated. 

Olga’s first impression when stepping into Momentum was, “This is a place that exists for us and exists here to support us.” Olga also said that if someone wants to become active, it is nice to have a safe space to introduce them to, like Momentum. You don’t have to do things yourself; there is a community of people welcoming you. We are stronger together, and we also have a lot of fun. Activism is about fighting a lot, but it’s also about enjoying and celebrating the small wins. The only way to keep doing this for as long as it’s needed is by surrounding yourself with people who support each other and are willing to think outside the frames of the current system. Momentum helps us envision another future, where we are not fighting a war against earth and humanity, but rather living in peace.

Hours often pass by when sitting upon the oil tanks, but once again, you are capable of doing that thanks to your community. The fight will need to go on, but we know that it will be worth it in the end. And after actions, we know that we can go back to Momentum, reload our batteries, and breathe out.

Story provided by Momentum, Stockholm, Sweden

Blog

My Path to Artistic Advocacy

My journey started when I was introduced to Ubunifu Hub by a friend through our youth group, “Hatua kwa Hatua”. Little did I know that it would become the guiding light for my journey. The passionate trainers at the hub opened my eyes to the critical issue of climate change advocacy, igniting a curiosity within me that I never knew existed.

As I delved into this new knowledge, I discovered a creative pathway that merged my passion for art with my newfound understanding of climate change. The resources available at the hub allowed me to evolve and enhance my artistic skills, propelling me to new heights of creativity and expression.

One of the pivotal moments in my journey was the opportunity to participate in the ‘I Hummingbird Effect’ campaign led by Tracy Makheti. I created a captivating puzzle art piece and an impactful painting. These works not only showcased my talent but also sparked positive conversations and dialogues on the pressing issue of climate change. Through the campaign, I gained the confidence to continue my journey as an artivist.

The impact of my art extended beyond local borders when I was given the opportunity to travel to Sweden for a youth exchange program. There, I not only gained invaluable knowledge but also shared my artistic gifts with fellow youth from other Planet One hubs, fostering growth in my career as a self-taught artist. Throughout this transformative journey, the team at Ubunifu Hub has been my unwavering support system, providing a nurturing space where creativity flourishes. Their guidance has not only shaped my artistic endeavors but has also empowered me to become a better advocate for change.

I want to express my deep gratitude to Ubunifu Hub for being my stepping stone to my purpose. Your dedication to teaching and advocacy has been instrumental in shaping my journey as an artistic SDG activist. Through your guidance, I have found my voice and passion for climate stories, and I have been able to network with like-minded individuals who have further impacted my life.

Denzel’s beautiful artworks

Your commitment to nurturing talent and giving support has inspired me to educate my community through edu murals that emphasize the importance of climate advocacy and mitigation. The skills and knowledge I have gained from you have empowered me to make a meaningful difference in the world around me.

Thank you for the profound impact you have had on my life. Your unwavering support, constructive feedback, and belief in my potential have helped me grow not only as an artist but as a person. Your mentorship has instilled in me a sense of confidence, creativity, and a lifelong love for learning.

Denzel’s beautiful artworks

I am truly grateful for the countless hours you have dedicated to teaching and guiding me. Your patience, kindness, and genuine care for your students have left an indelible mark on my heart. Thank you for being an exceptional teacher, a mentor, and a friend.

Today, I stand as a testament to the transformative power of art and advocacy, all thanks to the profound impact of patience, hope, and hard work.

Denzel Juma, Young Member, Ubunifu Hub, Nairobi, Kenya

Blog

Ida’s Environmental Law Journey with Aurora and Momentum

When Ida first stepped into Momentum, she was taken aback by the space’s beauty and warmth. It resembled a cozy living room, tailored for climate activists. On one wall, her friend Smilla, an artist and fellow member of Aurora, had painted a map adorned with various people holding signs and messages. It felt like a declaration: “This is a space for climate activists plotting to transform the world.” Momentum became a second home for both Aurora and Ida.

Her introduction to Momentum came through their generous offer to let Aurora utilize their rooms for meetings and events. This support was instrumental in organizing banner workshops, board meetings, and celebratory events. Furthermore, Momentum provided a hub for interaction with other young climate movements and activists, fostering solidarity and creating a rare safe space in Stockholm.

Ida’s involvement with Aurora began with her passion for nature, which evolved into a drive to combat the looming climate crisis. She found inspiration in the Urgenda case, where citizens sued their government over inadequate action against global warming. This led to the formation of Auroramålet, a youth-led organization that initiated Sweden’s first systematic climate case against the government. In Aurora, Ida serves as both spokesperson and scientific coordinator, deeply engaged in the organization’s legal efforts.

Aurora’s landmark lawsuit against the Swedish government on November 25, 2022, marked a pivotal moment. The atmosphere buzzed with anticipation at Mynttorget, where the demonstration commenced. Amidst the crowd and media frenzy, Ida hurried from an interview with Sweden’s prominent public broadcasting service. The march’s destination was Nacka tingsrätt, where the lawsuit would be filed. As they arrived, the board members delivered a powerful speech, signaling the beginning of a significant legal battle.

While Aurora awaits the highest court’s response, Ida remains driven by a mix of rage and love. She sees the exploitation of ecosystems, humans, plants, and animals as a grave threat, yet finds hope in the life worth protecting. Her advice to those considering engagement with Momentum or the fight for climate justice is simple: “Join! Civic engagement is not only crucial for the planet’s future but can also be enjoyable.”

As Ida leaves Momentum, she smiles, grabbing a banner collectively designed by the group. For her, this is just the beginning of a journey. Having graduated as a lawyer, she looks forward to dedicating her life to environmental issues and justice. Her ambition extends to creating a global climate litigation network, uniting countries and youth movements in holding governments accountable for their inaction.

Ida’s story resonates globally, showcasing how dedication and legal activism can pave the way for a more just and sustainable world.

Story provided by Momentum, Stockholm, Sweden