Sail for Climate Action
On 20 February 2020, a group of young climate activists and environmentalists will set sail from Cartagena, Colombia in a three-masted schooner, bound for an international climate conference which takes place in June in Bonn, Germany. A key focus of the voyage is to elevate the voices of youth from Latin America and the Caribbean in climate policy discussions.
On board the sailing vessel there will be a skills and knowledge-sharing programme among the participants to empower them to raise their voices in the places of power and decision-making. The participants will partake in a capacity-building programme including grassroots experiences and solutions, and expertise in national and international climate change policy. Life on board will also entail daily duties such as sailing watches (where participants will take turns sailing the ship), kitchen shifts (where plant-based food will be served) and cleaning duties. Upon arrival, they will tour through Europe and speak at different events in April and May and finally attend the UNFCCC Conference (Intersessional Climate Change conference preparing COP26) in Bonn, Germany in June 2020.
The voyage aims to build links between young people from Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe who are active on climate issues or impacted by the climate crisis. The stories from Latin American and Caribbean youth brought to Europe on the voyage will help inform European youth of the scale of climate change impact already being experienced in the south, and will help build cooperative action by youth from both continents. The selection process is now underway to choose 25 participants from diverse backgrounds to sail across the Atlantic.
The youth climate movement must recognise oppressions and historical differences between the global north and south, and must be able to give voice to all actors to be truly representative. Youth from Latin America and Caribbean Region want to be key actors in changing our reality. Only together we can face this global crisis," said Azul Schvartzmann, from the organising team.
The Latin American and the Caribbean region includes a large number of developing countries and small island states, which are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Developing countries have less infrastructure and financial resources to deal with climate change-amplified events such as hurricanes, floods and forest fires. In addition, small island states are most susceptible to rising oceans and damage to marine ecosystems from climate change. These impacts are happening now as a result of carbon emissions, the majority of which come from the developed world. It is crucial to bring frontline communities to the centre of the discussion.
"Never than ever before has it been more important to come together in the midst of this climate crisis. Only with diverse voices can we tackle what is arguably the biggest issue facing our planet and its inhabitants," said Tori Tsui, 26, from England/Hong Kong.