Reflections by MAŠA ZUPČIĆ after being part of the climate summer camp back.
Crossing Borders have first received an invitation from NOAH Friends of Earth Denmark to be a part of the organizing team for the Climate Summer Camp back in the autumn of 2020. As soon as I heard about it, I was immediately more than willing to participate in it. I felt that this could be an opportunity to be a part of something truly meaningful, as the theme was the Climate Justice approached from different perspectives such as social justice and gender issues. And I was right; it was very meaningful and it helped me to realize how many people are willing to change things for better in this world.
Even though we were organizing the event in a very uncertain period, that didn’t stop us. We readily “jumped” into the meetings with the NOAH team with one goal – to help make this Camp possible. After a lot of planning, the circumstances allowed us to meet in person after all; around 20 participants and facilitators gathered for four days from June 30th until July 4th in Makvärket, home to a cultural and environmental collective that almost feels like a magical place full of history.
We arrived ready to share the space, conversations and knowledge for the next few days, and what other way is better to connect than working in a team? That is why we played an Escape Game created by the NOAH team called System: reclaim after which we had an active listening workshop. These activities gave us a chance to work together and talk to each other in a bit unconventional way, which eased the introduction part and made it enjoyable so I quickly connected to my fellow participants.
The next day, the official program of the Camp started. We had a chance to listen about topics such as Degrowth in the lecture facilitated by NOAH, Doughnut Economics facilitated by SPIRE organization from Norway, and Norway’s Green Transition with Natur & Ungdom. On the same day, Crossing Borders had a chance to present and facilitate playing the board game Last Chance which is teaching young people about SDGs and the importance of teamwork and partnership. We concluded the day with a movie night, watching an Icelandic movie called Woman at War, which I would warmly recommend to everyone reading this, as it is tackling some important topics in a very impactful way.
The second day of the camp started with an introduction to the EU Green Deal and continued with a workshop on Environmental Racism by the Collective Against Environmental Racism. We spend our afternoon with the team from RAPOLITICS that introduced their project Pieces for Palestine. Both of these topics are very important, and the presentations were very intense, but both teams of facilitators made sure not to overwhelm us with information and made us feel safe and comfortable at all times by including a lot of interactive activities in their workshops.
Saturday started with the Dancing Class held by the Crossing Borders team, in which we introduced different ways to connect with nature through dancing and body movements. We spent the rest of the morning preparing for the debate with two MEPs: Molin Björk from the Swedish Left Party and Marie Toussaint, a member of the Group of the Greens and European Free Alliance. We asked them questions about perspectives of Economic, Social-Racial and Gender Justice and discussed about the process of writing and implementing the EU Green Deal and what it will mean for the future of the EU. In the second half of the day, we learned about Ecofeminism through the lecture and a discussion facilitated by NOAH.
We spent the last day of the camp reflecting on everything we have heard, learned, shared, and experienced. We mostly focused on the element of hope that these kinds of experiences provide. Thinking and talking about environmental issues and different kinds of injustice that we are surrounded by sometimes can cause anxiety and feeling of hopelessness. That is why I am beyond grateful to the NOAH team and everyone else who organized and participated in this Camp. It disconnected me for a short time from the daily responsibilities and “real life” and connected me to the wonderful group of people, to nature and to myself. It also gave me a chance to feel more comfortable sharing my personal feelings, positive energy and concerns, with the group of people I just met. The camp provided us with a safe space and gently encouraged us to speak, reflect and support each other. The biggest lesson I took with me from this Camp is that we are not alone; we are all part of a closely interconnected community. We are all part of nature. Everyone should play their role in protecting each other and our environment. That is why our job is not over – it has just started. Education is the key, and I encourage everyone to join events like these whenever they have a chance. Only by learning, we can take care of ourselves, others and the world.
European Solidarity Corps volunteer at Crossing Borders