In late 2015, I came to a realisation. If we truly want to take on the world’s biggest polluters, and uphold the world’s greatest solutions to climate change, we have to do so on a global scale. And we have to do so on the world’s biggest platforms.
If the Climate Movement is going to achieve anything truly grand, we need to stop sharing our message with each other, and begin to spread it to the world.
We need to lift the bar of where we spread our message, and the frame that holds up the bar, needs to radically diversify.
The harsh reality of our movement is that too much time, ambition, funding and talent has been focused on a very small portion of the world, it’s languages and its people. Too much of our attention has been linked to political shifts in a handful of countries and even smaller grouping of their languages.
What we hope to do with Climate Tracker, is not to treat this lack of diversity as a side issue, but as the main issue.
In 2015, we began that mission, but in 2016 we have taken it to new levels. Seble, our Ethiopian tracker, was offered a column in one of the biggest newspapers of Ethiopia after her fellowship with us. Anam, from Pakistan, was asked to be a witness on a court case about climate change because of her article.
In the last couple of weeks we have conducted workshops, in Brazil, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, the Philippines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
We have launched opportunities for young people in Arabic, French, Spanish, German and Malagasy and are soon to publish our Op-Ed Writers Toolkit in 9 different languages.
In the next few weeks, we’ll be running workshops in Sri Lanka, Tunisia, France, Germany, and Senegal.
We published articles in over 107 countries throughout 2015, and this year, our goal is to reach 130.
As Renee Karunungan, our Advocacy Ninja (preferred title) from the Philippines highlights, it’s that passion to equip young communicators the world over with the skills they need that drives us everyday:
“We need to show people that we are here, and that we are bringing information closer to the people that need it most.”
In August, we launched our new App, to link in our Climate Trackers from around the world. In less than 2 months, we have had 2300 people from across 110 countries around the world join us. It’s our responsibility to create a website that not only they can use, but one in which highlights the amazing talent pool they represent.
As Anna Pérez Català, our resident Super Organiser described recently, “We wanted to have a website where Trackers can easily find all opportunities we have and engage in a very easy manner, so we can reach more people worldwide”.
“Climate Tracker is growing as the most amazing network of young climate communicators. We are putting a lot of attention on creating new opportunities that will empower young writers, but that needed a design that could be accessible to everyone.”
“As a former Tracker from India, I had always felt a lack of user-friendly, searchable and accessible information on the old site. The new Climate Tracker platform is our effort to change that, with access to the latest news updates, guest webinars, and skills training all in a user-centric manner.” – Mrinalini Shinde, Legal Extraordinaire
I don’t know how close we are to achieving what Mrinalini and Anna hope, but I do know that this is only the first step.
In the next few months, we will be adding sections highlighting global research on climate change in the media across our network. We will be publishing more multi-lingual toolkits and advertising many more opportunities in as many languages as we can muster.
“But we also wanted to showcase how amazing is the work that our Trackers around the world are doing,” Anna said to me today.
And this is true.
When Andreas Sieber joined us from Greenpeace and started telling people about how big the Climate Tracker network is, he realised was shocked when he found out how big it really is:
“Climate Tracker is a truly unparalleled network. This website enables us much better to show this to other organizations and create unique opportunities for young people and our partners all around the world.”
Maria, from Colombia, was asked by the Ministry to do an event on biodiversity and climate after publishing her article. Najet from Tunisia got a clarification reply by her government, because she highlighted the impacts of mines in a national newspaper
And in the end, that’s really why we do what we do. If young people are going to be not only “included” but inspired to take action on Climate change, we need to show them what John Kerry meant when he said that it is “the biggest opportunity of the 21st century. Period.”
If Ernest Hemingway was reading this, I’m sure he’d be appalled at my writing style. But what I do hope, is that he might appreciate what we are trying to do here. Years ago, he argued in his untouchably succinct style to “show readers everything. tell them nothing”.
I know, this letter has included a lot of telling. But this website will hopefully show you just what young people are capable of.
We’ll have regular news updates from around the world on the most pressing Climate issues that young people are shining a light on around the world. We’ll have opportunities to inspire young people from around the world. And we’ll have the tools and resources young journalists need to write about Climate change in their local contexts.
Our model is simple, we believe every young person can be a strong advocate for climate change around the world. Whether you’re a journalist or not. We hope we can support you to do so.
And we hope that many more will join us on this journey, and help us create many more opportunities to inspire new voices around the world.