Climate Week 2020 September 21–27
Youth at the Forefront of the Climate Movement
Young people and young adults are a revolutionary force and have been at the forefront of many important social movements. Youth are playing a vital role in the climate movement today. The lack of respect for younger people’s thinking and leadership abilities can mean that the important abilities we have to offer are underutilized. We can internalize the lack of respect and fail to take ourselves seriously, despite our many accomplishments. Racism also interferes in our building strong relationships. In this workshop, we will:
★ Communicate our understandings of young people and young adult’s oppression and internalized oppression
★ Communicate our vision for youth leadership in the climate movement and how allies can support us
★ Share tools for addressing racism that we can use in our relationships and movements
★ Learn the approaches used by Sustaining All Life and United to End Racism to heal from the damage of oppression, increase our effectiveness in the climate justice movement, and prevent burnout
The Work of SAL and UER
It is possible to limit the effects of human-caused climate change and restore the environment—and some big changes are needed if this is to happen. Sustaining All Life (SAL) and United to End Racism (UER) believe the environmental crisis cannot be resolved without ending racism, genocide of Indigenous peoples, classism, sexism, and other oppressions. The impact of environmental destruction and climate change falls most heavily on the groups targeted by these oppressions, and on other vulnerable populations (including populations of people who are elderly, disabled and very young).
To build a movement powerful enough to resolve the climate crisis, SAL and UER believe that the following barriers must be overcome: (1) longstanding divisions between nations and between groups of people caused by oppression (especially by racism, genocide of Indigenous people, and classism), (2) wide-spread feelings of discouragement and powerlessness, (3) a too-slow response to the escalating damage to the earth’s climate, (4) difficulties in effectively addressing the connections between the environmental crisis and the failures of our economic system.
We have found that these barriers are most quickly overcome as people heal from the mental and emotional harm caused by oppression. SAL and UER events provide opportunities for people to take turns listening to each other while encouraging emotional release. We become better able to think, speak out, organize, unite, and lead others in building a sustainable world.
SAL and UER are projects of and use the tools of Re-evaluation Counseling, which currently exists in 95 countries.