The climate, it's us

We are the climate. A letter to the world
ACTIVISM: No reason for optimism when it comes to climate, according to the youth generation. Still, this book is full of hope.


Greta Thunberg is not a lone cool in environmental activism. Another is the Swedish climate activist Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland and one of the initiators of the activist group Extinction Rebellion in Sweden. Two others are the Belgian youth and climate activists Anuna De Wever and Kyra Gantois. 17 year-old Anuna De Wever is behind the biggest youth uprising in Belgium since the 1960 century, and she has led some of the biggest European climate protest marches of recent times. "The strongest text on climate I have ever read," writes the Head of the Future in our hands, Anja Bakken Riise, in the preface to the book.

An article in the Future magazine in our hands states that more than 65 000 Belgians marched through the streets of Brussels just before the Christmas holidays in 2018 – the largest climate march in the country's history. A few days after the climate strike, the country's Belgian delegation of top politicians landed in Katowice, Poland, where the big climate summit COP21 was organized. In addition to the Czech Republic, Belgium became the only country that failed to sign the High Ambition Coalition. A few days later, De Wever watched a video on YouTube where Gretha Thunberg gave a speech in Poland. De Wever thus decided to form the group Youth for Climate.

One of the four climate ministers in Belgium, Marghem, who had participated in demonstrations against the lack of climate ambitions in his own government, traveled to Katowice by jet and had no qualms about being portrayed in front of the plane as a strongly committed climate politician. This sparked the spark the two youths needed to begin their civil disobedience project.


The book is led by the Belgian author and theater man Jeroen Olyslaegers (1967). The best thing about the book is that it is not characterized by us-against-them thinking, but that it tries to create a global unity. It doesn't take more than an hour or two to read, but the message is clear – from two young people who need to be taken seriously and accuse politicians: "Why are you doing nothing? Why don't you take proper care of the problems? " they write. The UN's last climate report was, as you know, not cheerful. Nor was the Nature Panel report. The book is a highly timely manifesto and an invitation to all of us to work together on climate change. The book also shows that there is a change in mentality in the Western world. We are in a new era, simply.

I think this is a book Karl Marx would have liked. The manifesto is totally compelling. The words are simple but striking. The book is marked by impatience, but also by humility. "We want to connect people, because it gives hope," they write. "Those who think we are against politics have misunderstood us. We are going to be the biggest supporters of politicians in every major climate action, for every high goal, ”they write.

There are also approaches to philosophical content here. For example, young people have an idea that packing the globe makes more sense than arguing about its property relationship.


What this book bears witness to is a changing world: a change in which the values ​​that have been in force since the industrial revolution are now being rejected. The title We are the climate testify to a generation experiencing the problems as a part of themselves. The book claims that adults do not take research seriously, as research tells of a situation that requires the deepest seriousness, not false attempts to be optimistic in a situation that does not guarantee optimism. Young people are told that they must be "realistic". But who are the realists, the youths or the adults? The book shows the paradoxical and sometimes incomprehensible behavior of the adults, which is pointed out mercilessly when Anna is told that she is naive who proposes to raise money to finance the climate. But wasn't that exactly what the authorities did during the financial crisis? "We have taken the future on credit," the youth write, "and we have forgotten that the bill is coming and demanding payment."


De Wever's and Gantois' climate activism has not gone unnoticed: In January 2019, they gathered students for a protest against today's climate policy, and in the small square in Brussels there was not enough room for the 300 protesters who showed up. A week later it reached 12, the week after that 500.

"We've taken the future on credit, and we've forgotten the bill is coming."

Although the book puts the adults on the bench, it is not marked by hatred and bitterness, but by youthful ardor and enthusiasm. The adults should also be allowed to join. But why have these committed youths had to do the job that the adults should have done? Now it is time for us adults to line up with the youth to join the strike. In a year or two, these youths are of age, with the right to vote. It will radically change the political and social reality. Green parties across Europe are now raising their opinion polls.

The words in this book are not wrapped: This gift gets you thrown right into your lap.

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