This issue of Panoramic is in collaboration with the WYCJ (World Youth for Climate Justice). One of our founders, Anya, spoke to Solomon and Vishal, some of the first people to join this movement, about the link between climate change and human rights. The WYCJ takes a very top-down approach to its activism, campaigning for the passing of an International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion that calls states to acknowledge the changing climate as a problem. In this issue, we explore the many facets to climate change and sustainability acknowledging that activism, forms of sustainability and our relationship to the natural world can look incredibly different depending on where we are.
Miguel, a member of the WYCJ, shows how many people affected by climate disaster think about their jobs, families and access to food, all socio-economic concerns, without necessarily connecting these issues to that of environmental sustainability. Whilst Miguel shows that people in the Pacifiic Islands are viscerally aware of the human rights consequences of climate change, Chloe observes that many of us are accustomed to climate change imagery depicting dying polar bears and burning forests, and are therefore less aware of the human displacement it can cause. For Chloe, more attention needs to be paid to the latter as, living in France, she is aware of the xenophobic attitudes and anti-migrant sentiment that has proliferated since the early 2010s and is deeply concerned by the lack of legal status climate refugees currently possess. Elena works to bridge this divide between daily life and the global crisis by exploring how social media users have started to promote eco-friendly products like bamboo straws on their platforms to increase the general environmental consciousness. However, she also advises that whilst social media can be the starting point for activism, it is not the end point as there is more that can be done than changing minor consumption patterns.
Consumption and economic demand were also key points in Ruari’s and Rachel’s pieces. Ruari explains how the sustainable forest management in North British Columbia is not actually preserving ecological value, rather the forests are being replaced with the trees most suited for Ikea furniture, in order to replenish economic value of forests . In a conversation with Jake Fiennes, General Conservation Manager in Holkham (a village and parish in Norfolk, the UK) Rachel also observes a severe decline in biodiversity and natural habitats due to the farming and tourist industries prevalent in Norfolk. The economy can be seen as ubiquitously detrimental to our planet.
For many of our writers, their experiences of the climate crisis have been one of conflict with governmental forces within their respective countries. Frieda writes of the struggle between climate activists and the police over the decision to construct a motorway across the Dannenröder Forest, Germany, with many activists being arrested for setting up camp to protect the landscape. Frieda outlines a clash of geopolitical forces as the local contract to build the motorway is not compatible with the Paris Agreement signed by the German government. In a similar vein, Abby understands the Australian political parties to be neglecting their environmental protection duties, outlining their collusion with fossil fuel companies, leaving bushfire mitigation to the local Country Fire Service in South Australia. Indeed, this aversion to meaningful change by the liberal government in Australia was a catalyst for Shannon to join the World’s Youth for Climate Justice, to force governmental action against climate change. . This youth-led activism is also the theme of our interview piece with Friday for Future activists, the student strike movement that Greta Thunberg initiated. From five very different backgrounds, these activists, in conversation with some of the Panoramic team, discussed the different challenges they face in promoting sustainability and their hopes for the future.
From frustrations at lacking government responses or climate change rhetoric as a xenophobic state tool, to mobilisation of youth groups and social media activism: this issue is rich in diversity of perspectives, criticisms and opinions on the most effective tools to approach this imminent problem with omnipresent consequences.
We hope you enjoy reading our fourth issue as much as we have enjoyed making it.
Panoramic the Magazine