We spoke to Force of Nature Founder Clover Hogan about what world leaders should be focusing on at this year’s summit and how we as individuals can ensure their conversations translate into tangible actions.
At just 11 years old, Clover Hogan declared herself an environmentalist.
Since then, she has worked tirelessly with her organization Force of Nature to mobilize change by empowering young people to act rather than shut down in the face of the climate crisis.
At a time as biting as COP27 – after decades of broken promises and with an increasingly uncertain future on the horizon – she believes we need to channel our emotion into action and come together as a community so that World leaders are really listening and hopefully getting things done.
We sat down with Clover yesterday to find out more.
thread: COP is in its 27th year, but world leaders are still do not treat the climate emergency as an emergency. How effective do you think the solutions that have been presented so far are?
Clover: Because some solutions get excessive airtime, we talk a lot about some of the technological solutions that will “save” us without necessarily getting to the heart of the crisis. For example, you might hear about carbon capture technology without any recognition of the role of trees (which are the best carbon capture technology we have) or the importance of restoring and protecting nature. And above all, I think one thing that often goes unnoticed is the role of people. It’s really easy to talk about environmental and social justice as two separate things, but we can’t protect nature without building just and equitable communities. The focus is currently on loss and damage. There is a degree of climate collapse that is already locked in due to historic emissions, which means countries – largely in the Global South – are already locked in to the repercussions of this. Those, like Pakistan which this year has witnessed the displacement of millions of people due to catastrophic floods, have contributed the least to this problem. They are the ones who must be supported by countries with the resources and wealth to finance a just transition. During COP26, funding was promised, but it has still not materialized.
This year, we are asking to see the promised money.
thread: What was your main takeaway from last year’s summit and what improvements do you want to see reflected this year after the many climate disasters we have witnessed since?
Clover: Last year, we saw many representatives of civil society and young people, but we still hear many of these voices in a symbolic way. As a young activist, you often see yourself being invited into the room and being the only young person there or not being really involved in the decision-making process. It is no longer enough to give young people a microphone or even a seat at the table. Young people inherit it. The same goes for the frontline communities, the Indigenous communities who need to be involved in the decisions that ultimately affect us. Unfortunately, today’s world leaders are disproportionately pale, masculine and outdated. Older white men making decisions that they may not even live to see the consequences of. We need women at the table. We need young people. We need frontline communities.
thread: In the context of previous efforts (or lack thereof), do you find the goals set so far within reach or too ambitious? How should the success of the discussions be measured?
Clover: Even though many world leaders are in denial, the urgency of these solutions is hard to ignore. What’s really scary right now is that according to most recent UN research there is no viable path to 1.5 degrees, which as we know is a point tipping into climate catastrophe. We are going to see rampant climate change in many parts of the world if we fail to limit emissions and that is terrifying because even many of the global commitments that have been made so far do not put us on that path – even less action. That being said, I don’t think it’s effective to lean into doomism and “it’s too late” desperation because that’s a favored response. There are already so many people living because of climate change, who are already displaced, who are already losing their lives and their livelihoods. They have no choice but to say it’s too late or too far. For them, it’s do or die.
thread: How can we (as activists and committed individuals) amplify the voices of frontline communities – those most disproportionately affected by the crisis?
Clover: On the one hand, it starts with acknowledging your own privilege. I am originally from Australia, now I live in the UK. Both of these nations have colonization in their history. These countries are wealthy because they pulled it out of the global south – which is now bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.
On that note, it is essential that we acknowledge our history. That we recognize the climate crisis is a symptom of a system that has extracted values from these communities. One who also failed to pay reparations or loss and damage.
Second, we must constantly ensure that we open the door behind us, raising the voices of others. That’s why a lot of what we do at Force of Nature isn’t just about helping young people put eco-anxiety into action, but helping them develop the skills to make a real difference in the world. world. We do this with a whole series of training sessions. These range from showing young people how to speak out – using communication as a tool for change – to teaching them how to critically advise decision makers on business and policy, where much of the power in place currently sits. .
From there, we create opportunities to ensure that these young people have a seat at the table. We recognize the influence and resources we have and assess how best to distribute them to ensure the voices that need to be amplified are amplified. We mobilize mindsets for action.