Back in May, Ukraine’s #ClimateStrike movement made its presence and demands crystal clear with a string of colorful, on-point mobilizations. Since then, we haven’t seen quite as many actions in the streets – but that’s only because this movement is gearing up for growth in numbers and ambition.
To get there, they’re putting new creative tactics and fresh perspectives to work.
In June, 25 young activists involved in Ukraine’s Fridays for Future movement came together to plan what the September mobilization can look like across their country. People from 9 different cities attended the meeting, which was hosted by Irpen and supported by 350.org.
The main insights? The new generation is more ambitious in tackling the climate crisis than ever before. The average age of the activists was 19 years old, with the youngest one only 15. None of them knew who Al Gore is (an Inconvenient Truth, anyone?). And they’re not afraid to push for radical change.
But they’re not just looking at a one-off mobilization. Activate Energy is building the capacity of the movement around Ukraine. In 10 different cities, local groups are steadily growing and engaging with decision-makers to build a strategy to get their city to declare and then implement 100% renewable energy.
A key aspect is getting other members of the public on board. Experts in economic development, climate impacts, city planning and renewable energy technologies and cooperatives held a panel with a local group to think about how this transition can work and center justice in the capital Kiev, home to 4 million people. Their short answer? It won’t be easy… but it is 100% possible and 100% essential for Kiev.
Meanwhile in Lviv, a local group met with traveler and writer Markian Prohasko, who had just came back from Antarctica. He made the connections between melting beauty and unbearable summer heat in Lviv, underscoring what youth across Ukraine already know: the climate crisis is affecting everyone, everywhere.
Prohasko was connecting to another key to building that power that lasts: winning over people’s hearts. Appealing to emotion and creativity can make the demand for change more urgent and immediate.
So youth helped launch Climate Art Labs – a project that engages artists into a cross-disciplinary collaboration with civil society organizations, activists and scientists in Ukraine on climate.
It’s bringing together creative, scientific and visionary minds who will collaborate with each other on the cultural narrative of climate change and its physical reality. Just last week, their “Emergency Climactic Movement in Kiev” exhibition opened. It’s the result of an 8-day laboratory where 7 artists each paired with an activist or scientist to imagine transformative ways to think about climate crisis.
These new, creative tactics are feeding Ukraine’s climate movement and moment. We’ll be sure to follow in the coming weeks in the lead-up to September 20. In the meantime, you can start building your own movement where you live: