Youth For Climate leaders ‘back to work’ after return to Belgium

Youth For Climate leaders ‘back to work’ after return to Belgium
The teen climate activists said they will step up efforts to push governments to deliver more ambitious climate policies. Credit: Youth For Climate/Facebook

The leading figures of Belgium’s Youth For Climate movement returned from a months-long transatlantic trip on Monday, announcing they would step up their fight to obtain ambitious climate policies in 2020.

Teen climate activists Anuna De Wever, Adelaïde Charlier and Josefien Hoerée docked in the French port of Dunkirk on board a container ship.

“I am very happy to be back, it was a great trip,” De Wever told Het Nieuwsblad, adding that she and her group were now ready to “get back to work in Belgium.”

Shortly before their return on Monday, the student-led climate activist group called for students across Belgium to join in a nation-wide school strike for the climate in February.

The leaders of the YFC group were some among several European youth climate activists to embark on a transatlantic trip on a sailing ship to Chile in order to make their trip to the COP25 UN climate summit climate-friendly.

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But their plans had to be abandoned mid-trip, after the Chilean government pulled the plug on the summit, following weeks of protests and social unrest in the capital Santiago, which led to a brutal government crackdown.

No longer able to attend the COP, which ultimately took place in Madrid, the activists still reached South America, where they visited indigenous tribes in the Amazon rainforest.

“We are taking the experience of the journey we made in the Amazon forest into account,” the De Wever said, adding that Europe and Belgium should pay more attention to one of Earth’s “most important lungs.”

The teen activists said they will increase the pressure on the as-of-yet unformed federal government to make a priority out of climate and the environment, a goal which follows news that Belgium dropped several ranks in a global climate performance index.

The February strike, slated for the 7th, will focus on the protection of the oceans, De Wever said, citing issues like plastic pollution, intensive fishing and the risks that rising sea levels would pose to hundreds of thousands of Belgians.

“We are a coastal country, and in 2100, more than 620,000 Belgians will have to move due to the rising water,” De Wever said.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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