TV5MONDE: This Milan summit brings together young people from all continents part of which comes from the movement created by Greta Thunberg, “Fridays for future”. Are new figures emerging within this movement?
Lena Lazare: There are spokespersons for “Fridays for future” or “Youth for climate” – it’s the same thing – in every country, and who have a certain audience all over the place. There are figures of “Fridays for future” all over the world, in fact.
I know there is the spokesperson for the movement in the Philippines, Mitzi Jonelle Tan, who is starting to be known, for example. There is also Luisa Neubauer in Germany and Anuna de Wever in Belgium who are voices that carry and who have also been heard in institutions, even if the movement has weakened a little in Belgium. In Uganda, Hilda Nakabuye and Vanessa Nakate are also starting to be known. In France, we have decided not to be cautious about institutions, not to meet with politicians to take a photo while giving the impression of a dialogue and that in the end nothing changes.
The fact that we are organizing a summit for us but without going through our network for the selection of young people – in a very framed space – means that many of us do not recognize ourselves in it.
Our strategy is different in France from that of Greta Thunberg. Then, it is true that the movement is that of Greta Thunberg, so it is she who is the figure known internationally.
The same movement and two names:
“#FridaysForFuture” is a movement led and organized by young people which started in August 2018, after 15-year-old Greta Thunberg and other young activists sat outside the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks, protesting the lack of action on the “climate crisis”.
“Youth for Climate”, also known as “Fridays for Future” is a movement bringing together young people from around the world who act for the environment and for the fight against global warming. This movement demands “climate and social justice“. He claims to be independent and apartisan, therefore affiliated with no organization, political or otherwise. Originally established in Belgium and France, it is part of the “Fridays for Future” initiative. initiated by environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
TV5MONDE: The Milan summit uses the name “Youth for climate”, what do you think?
Lena Lazare: This name was reused for the summit in Milan, by the UN and the Italian government. Moreover, we are many branches of “Fridays for future” to have rather committed ourselves to the citizen summit which takes place next door. In my opinion, it’s a bit of green washing what is happening at the institutional level in Milan. The idea of the summit is to invite young people from the middle of the country to bring their demands to COP26.
The 400 participants at the Milan summit are not all members of the movement initiated by Greta Thunberg, even if the title “Youth for the climate” is the same. These young people will submit their proposals to the various ministers and heads of state participating in the COP26, which will be held on 12 in Glasgow from 1 to November.
It’s very vertical as a process. And for two and a half years, with “Fridays for future”, we have shown that we are able to organize ourselves on our own, with clear demands.
Even by being very green in your daily life, by doing all the necessary gestures, you only reduce your carbon footprint by 25%. The rest is related to industry.
Suddenly, the fact that we are organizing a summit for us, but without going through our network for the selection of young people – in a very framed space – that many of us do not recognize themselves in it.
TV5MONDE: So the demands of young people from the “Fridays for future” movement would be different from those made by the UN?
Lena Lazare: Yes, since when we started to strike for the climate two years ago, we had clear demands on the total cessation of the use of fossil fuels by 2050. Today, we believe that the the heart of the problem is the productivist economic system, which is not – in our opinion – compatible with an ecological society. So there needs to be an energy decrease. Even by being very green in your daily life, by taking all the necessary actions, you only reduce your carbon footprint by 25%. The rest is related to industry.
The French branch of “Fridays for climate” defends the idea of changing things from below, at the local level, hoping that this will put pressure on society and therefore at a national level.
So I think we would need a lot less energy infrastructure if it was really based on the needs of the population. But no one has the solution yet, knowing that this is something that should be addressed globally. We are heading towards COP26, but when we signed the Paris climate agreement in 2015, everyone imagines that things were going to move forward. In 2021, no country is respecting this agreement, so we can see that these international scales do not seem to be working. This is in any case the point of view of the French branch of Fridays for climate which defends the idea of changing things from below, at the local level, hoping that this will put pressure on society and therefore at a national level. .
TV5MONDE: Do you think that the international action of the “Fridays for future” movement can have effects?
Lena Lazare: We continue to have international demands and we continue to make global strikes for the future because it is important to show that there are young people all over the world who are mobilizing on these issues and who want scientists to be follow-ups.
We took action online but also against Total, from all over the world. Despite everything, I admit that I do not expect much chosen from the COP26 in Glasgow.
We are mobilized, for example, against one of the largest pipelines in the world, which will notably pass through Tanzania. We took action online but also against Total, from all over the world. Despite everything, I admit that I do not expect much chosen from the COP26 in Glasgow