As youth activism increasingly moves beyond the physical and into the online world, ActJust has brought young climate activists from around Europe together through a series of online trainings.
In the era of covid, climate activists around the globe have been faced with a challenge: How do you sustain the public pressure on politicians to confront climate change in a time of lockdowns, curfews, and individual isolation? Luckily, activism has far from retreated from public sight during the covid-crisis. Rather activists have replaced the traditional avenues for protesting – city streets and squares – with another one: The digital space of online activism.
Online activism is of course not a new phenomenon but has been a driving force in popular protest movements worldwide during the last decade. However, the covid-crisis has pushed online activism to the forefront of activism, and as the pandemic is receding in many parts of the world and the streets and squares are once again open for activists, it is now time to strategically bridge traditional and online activism to the benefit of the fight against climate change.
To achieve this aim, ActJust have worked tirelessly to do just that by conducting a series of online trainings. The online trainings, which were conducted through February to the beginning of April, have brought together young climate activists from across the continent and allowed them to build an online community of climate justice fighters with the ability to coordinate joint initiatives to influence European lawmakers – both in the European Union and in national parliaments. At the time of writing, online trainings have been held in all seven partner countries – Greece, Austria, Denmark, Serbia, Italy, Spain and Lithuania – with over 200 participants. During the online trainings a wide range of topics related to climate change and climate justice activism have been discussed: From how to secure financing for climate activist activities to successful lobbying efforts aimed at lawmakers.
Of course, online activism and organization is only one tool in the fight for climate justice. It is not a substitute, but a tool to support “real-world”-activism. To bridge online and offline activism, ActJust will therefore hold physical climate justice mobilities in the partner countries. The mobilities will give young climate activists from across Europe an opportunity to meet each other and exchange ideas, while the online trainings have provided an opportunity to expand on these ideas.
The efforts to expand on the project and bridge online and offline activism will continue this Fall with a series of round table discussions to be held online.