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Making Voices Heard

By July 13, 2016 No Comments

I have always been an avid news reader, and, coming from an environmentally conscious family, I became aware of climate issues at a young age and it is something I have always felt passionate about. But until recently, the anger or hope I felt when reading about climate action or inaction was something I shared only in conversations with close friends or family, and otherwise kept to myself. There was a conversation going on around me, a conversation to which I listened intently but in which I remained, for the most part, passive.

Becoming a fellow at Climate Tracker changed this. It made me realise that with a little perseverance -and many, many emails to editors- I could make my voice, and the voices of those I wrote about, heard and I could be the one sparking conversations. One of the most rewarding parts of the experience was getting comments and messages from strangers or people I hardly knew telling me how much they’d enjoyed reading my work. Even negative comments and trolls felt somewhat rewarding, as they were a proof that I had reached beyond my usual circle, and wasn’t just preaching to the converted anymore.

Becoming a fellow also gave me the opportunity to spend time exploring and researching topics I felt strongly about. I enjoyed the freedom I was given in choosing topics, and I was lucky enough to attend the Bonn climate talks during the fellowship, which gave me access to experts and leaders, something which was as invaluable for writing good articles, as it was personally enriching. I particularly enjoyed meeting indigenous leaders and learning about their use of traditional knowledge to adapt to climate change, and about their unique relationship to their environments.

The final thing I will take away from this fellowship is encountering other young people acting for climate. I am full of admiration for those who risk much more than I will ever have to in the fight for climate justice. Getting to learn about their work, seeing their passion and dedication was truly inspirational, and added to my motivation to play my part, however small, in the struggle against climate change and the injustices it brings along. Not least among those young activists who inspired me, I would like to thank Ayeen and Anna for their work, their support and for always being available to help during this experience.

Giselle Bernard

About Giselle Bernard