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Climate Justice

Learn more about climate justice from two young climate activists.
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-Right now we’re at Mynttorget in Stockholm- -outside the Swedish parliament, which is a very important place. In 2018, Greta Thunberg started her school strike here. I joined her, in Falun, further north in Sweden- -one month later, and that’s when I became a climate activist. what climate justice means to you? -It’s very linked to social justice. We usually say that we can’t have climate justice without social justice- It’s a human justice, that we make sure that people have the same rights. People who live in vulnerable places on the planet, indigenous communities etc- -those people are being taken care of and their rights are being respected. That’s climate justice.
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But it’s also climate justice to see and respect nature for what it- -is - a life sustaining system, helping us survive on this planet. You have a good friend in the Philippines, Mitzi And you’ve asked her to join us in the conversation here, in- -order to give her views on what climate change and climate justice means to her- -and why climate justice is important. -I’m Mitzi, a full time climate justice activist based in Manila- -in The Philippines. I organize with youth advocates for Climate Action Philippines- -which is kind of the Fridays for future in our country. But we also do things which has affected people in the area, and I’m in Fridays- -for future international, where I met Andreas.
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A lot of my activism really stems from the approach of human rights- -and environmental defenders. Especially since in the Philippines, our small farmers- -indigenous people and fishers, who are most impacted by the climate crisis- -and are most vilified for protecting the planet. It’s making The Philippines the second most dangerous country in the world for- -climate activists and has been in the top five for the last 10-12 years. Growing up I would always experience typhoons and storms- -sometimes waking up in the middle of the night having to scoop up flood- -water from the floor in my room, or doing my homework by the candle light- -as there was no electricity.
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There was always this fear of drowning in my own bedroom, even. I remember all this, and I remember thinking- -that this shouldn’t be happening. After a pretty huge typhoon, when we were stuck at home for four or five- -days, we were finally able to go outside to stock up on groceries, and I saw all- -the huge trees I had seen grown up being uprooted. Something hit me, and I started crying, and my mom asked me why-
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I didn’t put two and two together until much later on in 2017 i was able to talk to anindigenous leader who didn’t tell us- -his name, because of security purposes. But he told me something that would change my life. He was telling me how they were being harassed, displaced, killed- -and militarized. After that, he shrugged and chuckled, and said “this is why we have no choice- -but to fight back”. It was the simplicity in how he said it, the way he- -wasn’t even trying to convince us of anything is what got to me.
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I realized that I had a privilege to choose to be an activist- what would be needed to- -start meaningful climate justice in The Philippines or for your sphere- -your area of interest or your world, basically. To tackle this slowly, one of the very first things is to recognize how- -tied climate crisis is to the system of colonialism and capitalism, and how- -we have to shift away. First we have to shift away from the messaging, that the leaders have- -to cut carbon dioxide emissions or give climate financial aid, because people in- -the global south are poor and impacted. That’s not the reason they have to stop. The reason they have to stop is because they cause this.
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when people give climate aid- -it’s sometimes in the form of loans where there is an interest. The reason the climate crisis happened, is because of the global north. And now we owe them not just for the stuff they gave, but more, like the interest, are sometimes even higher than what they gave. And even if you drastically cut emissions We have to adapt to the impacts, while cutting down on emissions. Cutting down on emissions is on the global north, because the global south- -barely emit emissions. We need to be able to industrialize and develop a little bit- -with sustainability in mind. If not we will keep being dependent on the global north.
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The tip of this pen - that metal tip - we can’t produce- -that in The Philippines. We have all the minerals, but to create that final metal- -we have to ship it to the global north. Then they make it there, and sell it here for a much more expensive price. Imagine when we are trying to shift into renewable energy, and solar panels- -for example - how will we make it? Will we end up in debt, because of the intellectual property rights- -or because we lack ways of processing these metals and minerals? Will we end up in debt to the global north, as we shift into- -a more sustainable system? Then what happens?
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We are once again in debt, to the colonizers, to the people- -who cause the climate crisis. it’s just this loop that happens forever. I definitely think that one of the ways to start achieving climate- -justice is through connecting with people, conversations and friendships. We need to unite! It’s not about the individuals of the global north versus the- -individuals of the global south. We have to come together, and my friendship with Andreas- -really concretizes that. Because I have so many good friends from Sweden, from the global north-countries- -and it gives me a warm feeling, which keeps me going.
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It lets me know that people from other parts of the world are fighting for the- -same thing I am, even if they’re not impacted yet. Knowing that they’re fighting alongside you, and I’m fighting alongside the- -environmental defenders in my country. We offer the same thing, and it’s empowering to know that- -so many people across the world are fighting for the same thing. Then nothing is impossible.
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So through Fridays for Future, you have a- -vision and a mission. What would be the dream vision, for your and your children’s? generation? I want green. And I hate green! Because that is a word that is overused. It’s used in the wrong way by companies and governments. But I still want green! Green to me means climate justice and it also means that you should stop using- -stuff you shouldn’t be using, and it means letting the ecosystems thrive and- -live without us interfering with them. It means living in harmony with nature and with each other. If you were to turn to the audience now. How can people engage with your vision and your work? What can people do? -Dare!
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If you have a thought or an idea or a vision or a mission - -something that you want to do - then you have to dare to do it. And you have to dare to ask for help and you have to just dare!

In this interview we meet Andreas Magnusson and Mitzi Jonelle Tan, two young climate activists from very different parts of the world: Sweden and the Philippines. Our conversations cover why they became engaged in climate action, what climate justice means to them and what actions they think are needed.

This video was filmed on location at Parliament Square, Stockholm and on a live video connection to the Philippines.

This is a trailer for the full recording which can be accessed here. It is only 25 minutes long and we warmly recommend following this link and listening to the wise words spoken by the young activists.

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