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The Argentine followers of Greta Thunberg: what do they ask to save the planet?


They are young people who march, debate and demand decisions to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The new Argentine environmental militancy is united, organized and with the agenda one hundred.

The members of Youth for Climate / Argentina (JOCA) are boys and girls of the age to

make their way in life

, a busy stage in itself even if they were not devoting time to the challenge of saving the world.

The reasoning is logical: it is your generation that inherits what is left of the planet after three centuries of

uninterrupted greenhouse gas (GHG)

emissions .

By the time the worst consequences of climate change are unleashed, those who make and do not make decisions with a global impact

in this regard today

will already have passed away.

Greta, the first

It took a teenager diagnosed with Asperger's to raise awareness about this elementary calculation.

On August 20, 2018, Greta Thunberg

skipped school and went to sit outside the Swedish Parliament

in central Stockholm holding a sign that read "School Strike for Climate."

More than a century of research and data on the greenhouse effect and

global warming

, condensed into a scene that saw the entire world electrified.

Months later,

that girl, dressed in a plaid shirt and with her hair in two braids

, gave a short and iconic speech at the United Nations Climate Summit: "You say you love your children above all else, but you are stealing from them the future in the face”.

More or less around those days, in Argentina a message was sent by cell phone:

“Look at this video and call me.



It was Eyal Weintraub for Bruno Rodríguez, schoolmates.

Eyal Weintraub is co-founder of Youth for Climate.

He is 22 years old, and says that thanks to Greta Thunberg he managed to channel his interests.

Photo: Fernando de la Orden.

The movement promoted by Greta –Fridays for Future, Youth for Climate, among other variants– had called for

a massive mobilization

on the following March 15, in front of the government buildings of every city in the world.

It is your generation that inherits what is left of the planet after three centuries of greenhouse gas emissions.

Thus, for Argentina to be part of that historic day, this new generation of environmental militants

was launched

: they opened a WhatsApp group, profiles on networks, dialogue with long-standing local ecologists, and already, that same 15M in the one that summoned 5,000 people in Congress, with the political sector: the then president of the Chamber of Deputies received the document that they had prepared with the demands.


“You can divide the facets that we are going through as a movement into stages, and now we are in the phase of being able to consolidate many

more projects with concrete results and a tangible impact

,” says Eyal Weintraub, 22, a

National Geographic

explorer , entrepreneur , non-formal educator, raised in the United States where he would probably be living today – he was thinking of studying at Minerva University, the most innovative in the world, they say – if Greta had not appeared and the opportunity to channel all his interests right now.

“When I was about nine years old I read something about how every piece of plastic that you throw on the ground ends up in the sea and that kills a fish.

Scientifically debatable

if it is so linear, but for the black and white head of a child it was quite shocking, ”she says.

Vegetarian since he was 14 –he saw


, the famous Netflix documentary on the relationship between cattle farming and greenhouse gas emissions–, member of the school's solidarity campaigns team, interested

in the discussions

brought to class by feminist classmates , at the end of the year Weintraub suspended the International Relations degree at the university because it did not harmonize with his day to day.

During 15M, inspired by greta thunberg, they summoned 5,000 people to the national congress.

“A lot of what I do to help bring more people to the socio-environmental movement is education,” he says.

And he adds: "It seemed a little hypocritical to me to be dedicating so much time to

a formal education system

where I felt it was the place where I was training the least."

Since saying climate change does not have a negative connotation per se, one speaks of a climate crisis – to

emphasize the problematic aspect and urgency

– and an ecological one, because of how a warmer earth affects biodiversity.

Now it is obvious due to the amplification of intense meteorological phenomena such as droughts, prolonged heat waves (like the ones we experienced in the summer that ended a few days ago) and floods, but the temperature change was so gradual that its causes and effects had a lot to do with


. time to develop.

Today the range of attitudes in relation to the issue goes from a

scant and weakened denialism

to the rebellion of believing that the only way out is stillness: stop the machines, stop the system, stop producing, since every blink of the capitalist human being ends harming the planet.

“I don't think there is a universal answer for all countries,” continues Weintraub: “There is a very big difference if we talk about decrease in the United States or in Africa, for example.

It is part of the complexity of these discussions.

I think that the ideal would be to decouple what is economic growth from GHG emissions, and begin to include other indicators of what is

the well-being of a population

that is not only GDP”.

Youth for Climate believes in a viable way out through coordinated work between the state, business, civil society and communities especially affected by the crisis, to propose

a transition that does not stop

at its level of ambition for what that the scientific community asks not to cross the threshold of 1.5 global average temperature, which is what would prevent us from entering a scenario of irreversible consequences unleashed by global warming.

"What I am most interested in analyzing is how countries, taking into account the degree of intensity of the emissions generated by

our industrial system

, do not take action on the matter to make this reverse," says the co-founder of JOCA, Bruno Rodríguez. .

Bruno Rodríguez studies Political Science and has participated in various student organizations since he was 13 years old.

Photo: Fernando de la Orden.

A Political Science student, he began the military at the age of thirteen, he went through student, human rights and territorial organizations such as La Poderosa.

“And from a geopolitical perspective, I am extremely interested in how the countries that contributed the least to the creation of the problem suffer its worst consequences.

It is the rich countries that pollute the most

and therefore the ones that have to put in the greatest effort so that humanity can effectively have a decarbonization process that is fair in social, economic, and of course environmental terms.”

A transition proposal

From the perspective of this environmentalism, for example, a GHG emissions bomb like Vaca Muerta would not be –for now– the enemy, considering the “quota” of carbon that Argentina has –responsible for less than 1 percent of emissions global– and

the need to save and generate foreign exchange

in a country in chronic economic crisis.

"We need a realistic transition proposal, which contemplates the increase in the participation in the energy matrix of renewable sources, and which at the same time raises the increase in our exports, which grants economic and industrial growth, taking into account that the climate crisis

exacerbates social inequalities

and deepens the growth of poverty”, continues Rodríguez.

"The ideal is that the majority of our energy matrix

comes from renewables such as solar

, hydroelectric or wind energy, which in Argentina have a lot of potential," says Nicole Becker, a member of JOCA from the beginning.

“If we use Vaca Muerta gas because today it is necessary, but we have a long-term plan so that by 2050 we have this percentage of renewables, that is one thing.

But what is seen in Argentina and in many countries is that there is no such plan or that it exists on paper but not in reality, therefore they are thinking that Vaca Muerta is going to be the salvation for the country when in reality everything


that in the long term, fossil fuels are going to stop being used”, he adds.

“I am categorically against everything that is an expansion of the hydrocarbon frontier”, says Eyal Weintraub.

“They are investments that in the medium term are going to lose their value.

The challenge is how can we keep that oil and gas

in the ground

, and get rewarded for it;

because it would be an economic sacrifice in pursuit of improving the quality of life of the populations, which should be rewarded in some way by the international community ”, he reflects.

In the fight

They have an average of between 18 and 23 years old – there are also 14 and thirty-something – and there are more than 150 around the country.

They began to exercise their own change of consciousness through

the first actions at hand

: reduce the consumption of meat and products of animal origin in general, separate waste, become friends with the bicycle;

but they agree that the positive impact will only be visible when the struggle becomes collectivized.

They channel their work for climate justice by linking it to social justice: "There is no way we can talk about a sustainable path in environmental terms if we don't do the right thing on a social level."

They articulate with cartoneros, recuperadores and environmental promoters in promoting

a packaging law with social inclusion

: "We must cut with the sacralization of individual responsibility, with the lack of a systemic perspective on environmental problems," says Bruno Rodríguez.

“That the producers

take charge of the environmental liabilities that they generate and that this way a


in the market

takes place , a transition.”

They have "periodic meetings" with leaders of different parties to keep the debate alive and insist on the Law on wetlands.

They participate in the United Nations conferences, they interviewed the Secretary General Antonio Guterres, they have contact with Greta and other young leaders of the cause abroad, and everything they learn is socialized


the spaces that they are creating and winning in the country for this cause, from the annual JOCA summit, to the research groups where they participate –they exchange with referents of the national scientific technical system and entrepreneurship– and various training contexts where they bring their proposals and training workshops.

“We try to help not only to understand more about the climate crisis, but to learn how to disseminate this information in a way that is easy to assimilate, that attracts attention, that manages to penetrate the conscious and be stored in the unconscious, so that it begins


influence in the different decisions that these people make”, they say.

They believe, in controversy with other environmentalists, that nuclear energy is part of the transition.

They believe that there should be a

national use of strategic minerals such as lithium

, as long as it is with a perspective of sovereignty and in dialogue with the communities located in the extraction areas.

They also believe in the possibility of a new productive demography, in investment in the public transport system.

They do not believe in geoengineering patches such as the idea of ​​injecting

certain aerosols into the atmosphere

to cool it: "The way out is political or has to do with making political decisions," continues Nicole Becker, who chose to study Law when she began her militancy at JOCA: "The Technology has to accompany us because without it we will not solve the climate crisis, but I think there is a mistake in trusting that technology will appear that will solve everything and we will be able to continue as we are now.

There are things, like the way we consume and produce, that

must be changed


Nicole Becker has been a member of Youth for Climate since its inception.

She is 22 years old and says that the solution to the environmental problem is political or has to do with political decisions.

Photo: Fernando de la Orden.

“From many sectors of environmentalism, technology is viewed with suspicion.

These are worlds that still need to be connected

, sustainability and technological innovation,” says Eyal Weintraub, creator – with some colleagues and a

National Geographic

fund – of

Celsius Alert

, a non-profit organization – “half a Tech Ed” – that develops technologies for education.

“Due to the speed at which we have to reduce GHG emissions, it is impossible to achieve it without using different types of technology,” he says.

Weintraub is also dedicated to investigating how blockchain


can be compatible with sustainability, by making

the production chain

of companies transparent to reduce their environmental impact, for example, or with the idea –presented a year ago by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Estrategicos and the government of Chaco– to generate an “Eco Token” that grants economic value to ecosystem services –physical spaces such as forests and wetlands or biological processes such as pollination– and encourages investment in conserving nature.

The road is long –eternal?– and it is just beginning.

There is irreparable damage to the Earth, but this is also irreversible the appearance of these

new young, independent environmentalisms, with a scientific and critical mind

, but with the vital dose of idealism that such a vast cause requires.

And if a priori the existence of Youth for the Climate and other similar groups

does not imply any salvation

, it does guarantee that, if the fight is not enough and the dominoes begin to fall, at least we will all know why, no one will be able to realize the luxury of being surprised like today with the heat and drought.

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Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-28

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