Climate justice was on the agenda at the Young Friends of the Earth Europe summer camp 2015 in Brittany, north-west France, as 100 European youth gathered to discuss action plans and environmental justice in the run-up to this December's UN climate talks in Paris – the COP21. With workshops on intersectionality and migration struggles, young people from across the continent and beyond worked on broadening the scope of our movement and getting to grips with how our mainstream economic and political systems have produced the climate crisis, and how this intersects with the mainstream European climate movement.
These conversations are particularly pertinent in the run-up to the COP21, where Friends of the Earth groups will be mobilising thousands of people to join us on the streets of Paris, and take this energy back to their communities to fight against dirty energy and for a system that puts people and planet first.
Outside of these discussions, we linked up with local activists who had successfully opposed a nuclear power plant for the region in the 1970s. These inspiring activists took us on a guided hike across the beautiful, rugged coastline of the region – which would have been razed and annexed off were it not for the tens of thousands of people who took on the full force of the French state, and won.
Documentary on the history of the anti-nuclear struggle in Plogoff, north-west France (in French)
As the week drew to a close, we took this spirit of resistance and joined an existing struggle on the nearby île de Sein, where many on the tiny island are pushing to end their dependence on oil – the source of all the island's energy, controlled by the state-owned French company EDF. In its place, they want community-run wind power, and we joined them for a march across to the island to drop a banner by the fuel tank: Le Vent Tourne (the winds are changing).
For a full run-down of what we got up to at the camp, check out the blogs, videos and photos that the participants put together...
We kicked off the week in Brittany with visits from local activists for in a range of fields – from those who'd successfully struggled against a nuclear power plant in the 1970s, to others resisting a new gas plant in the region today. Dora from Croatia and Mélody from France recapped the day's events.
Day two saw more introduction to some of the cross-cutting systemic issues that intersect with the climate struggle, with the migration crisis, the EU-US trade talks and more we on the agenda. Fatima from the Netherlands and Carmen from Scotland were in attendance.
In the afternoon, we were joined by several local activists from the nearby town of Plogoff, who successfully campaigned against a new nuclear power plant being built on the coastline in the 1970s. They took us on a hike to where the plant would have been built, and explained the history of the movement. Clemence from France reflects on how these struggles are still relevant today.
After the nuclear hike, we tackled the hard questions around privilige: the race, gender, class and economic components of our background, and why it's vital we address these issues as activists. Sydney from Ireland and Kristina from Czech Republic share their thoughts.
The penultimate day of the camp saw us decamp to the nearby Île de Sein, where part of the local community is struggling to throw off the shackles of fossil fuel-dependence in favour of community-run renewables. Josef from Czech Republic and Roxanne from the UK report back on boats, windy weather, and occupying a lighthouse.
Marching across the Île de Sein for climate justice
All good things have to come to an end, and as the camp for another year, Carmen from Scotland and Jasmina from Macedonia wrote about their impressions of the final workshops. Next stop, Paris – and beyond!