Marcelo de Medeiros is the Climate Working Group Coordinator at Engajamundo, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Brazil formed by young people for young people. In this rallying post, he calls upon civil society to understand its strength and to take on climate change.
Since I started working on and studying about climate change people ask me: “What’s up? how long this world will still have until everything collapses?”. Then, I look to the side and I see dozens of mobilized young Brazilians. They have sparkles in their eyes when they speak on the subject to other young people and invite them to be active players in finding solutions to the biggest challenges we have ever faced.
Engajamundo is a Brazilian NGO formed by young people for young people. Through our job of capacity building, mobilization and activism, we work so that Brazil’s youth feel closer to the subject through dynamic and straightforward language. From that, we seek concrete ways to start changing their habits and the environment around them.
We have already made formations and actions on climate change in the five regions of the country, whether in traditional communities, indigenous peoples, on the outskirts, everywhere – because the participation of everyone is vital for an effective change to take place.
Nelson Mandela once said that “sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great.” We know that many of these problems were not caused by our generation, even so we are not idly waiting, pointing blame while the world suffers greater environmental impacts. I am sure that this generation and the future ones will be great!
Last year, at COP 20 in Lima, I realized that we, the young people around the world, are doing a much better and effective job than many governments. We believe that we are part of the solution! And when you change the perspective, starting to see and understand climate change as a chance to start over, to create societies that preserve and are connected with nature, then the magic happens. All the apocalyptic mood that involves our future begins to become well-lit, in which each one does his part and spread this new idea. This is how we work here in Brazil, empowering young people on the subject and sharing experiences of how we can reverse this situation in a positive way.
More and more I am convinced that the world never changed because of deals, agreements or protocols, but the rush of people who believed in a cause and fought for its ideals. The world is full of diplomats and experts on climate change, but are they managing to limit emissions? Definitely not, it has only increased over time.
The real revolution will begin when the civil society understands the strength of its transforming power and a new mentality will emerge creating a new world. The transition to this brave new world has already begun, although at a slow pace.
The youth has shown its will power and I do believe it can be the major driving force that will speed things up, leading humanity with courage for a better, equitable and sustainable world.