Victória Sales – from Cenarium
MANAUS – Planning to give voice to the climate issues that Brazil is going through, young Brazilians have been gaining more and more space during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Amazonian and socio-environmental activist Celina Maria Ferreira Pinagé, 22 years old, is a highlight among these young people who participate in the event. This year, the debate takes place between October 31 and November 12, in Glasgow, Scotland.
In an exclusive interview to CENARIUM, Celina points out that one of the main themes of the event is the Amazon. She also mentions the importance of taking this look inside the country and especially the Amazon. “We always find people from other countries talking about the Amazon, so it is important to show the economic potential, and the event itself is opening more and more to receive this vision from those who really know and show the needs that the country needs”, she explained.
Celina also says that, unlike previous years, in 2021 the COP will count on the participation of several young Brazilians and Amazonians. “We have many things to add to this discussion. I believe that it is missing the need to show this in fact. We talk a lot about the economy, but we don’t talk much about the bio-economy, we talk a lot about forest fires and we don’t talk much about the investment that has to be made for this work of monitoring and research to be carried out”, she pointed out.
The activist also explains that at the COP there are many debates between countries and everyone with different experiences. “It will be an important place to get the technologies to see what is working, because a big problem in Brazil is that for a long time we keep repeating the same thing and many countries have already seen that it doesn’t work, so the COP is an interesting space because of this”, she said.
Celina says that to get to the COP, she started being part of Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) EngajaMundo. “Since 2018 I’ve been part of EngajaMundo, which is made up exclusively of young people and within it there are several groups, and one of them is only about climate change and I’ve been there since 2018. We are always debating agendas on the subject, generating content. And EngajaMundo is very close and related to the COP. There are several organizations that are accredited to participate in the event. The NGO was a door for me, they also take into account how long the person has been in the NGO, those who have been there longer have more chances of getting there, so the fact that I have been there since 2018 helped me a lot”, she said.
Other young people
Among the young Brazilians who are participating in the event, there is also the indigenous activist Alice Pataxó, 20 years old. The communicator was nominated by Pakistani activist Malala as one of the women of the world who “bring their voices and experiences” to Glasgow. The young Nobel Peace Prize winner asked her followers to follow the work of Alice and five other representatives of social and environmental struggles.
The indigenous activist told, through social networks, that one of the main motivations to go to the COP is the defense of indigenous territories. “The forest has no owner, but it has guardians. That’s why we are here, to defend these territories, to defend life”, she wrote. Already in Glasgow, Alice spoke at the conference held by young people on environmental issues. “This is the first time I leave my territory, at a moment when Brazil is going through a strong decision about indigenous lands”, she said.
“But I understand the need to join the youth of the world to talk about this, to fight for the environment and create solutions together. I am proud to be able to go back home and tell my people: we are no longer alone”, she said at the event.
The young indigenous woman from Rondônia, Txai Suruí, 24, also went to the COP and spoke on the first day of the event in front of world leaders. The activist opened her speech remembering her father, cacique Almir Suruí, who suffers from the Bolsonaro government’s persecution on his lands.
“My name is Txai Suruí, I am only 24 years old, but my people have lived for at least 6,000 years in the Amazon rainforest. My father, the great chief Almir Suruí, taught me that we must listen to the stars, the moon, the wind, the animals and the trees. The Earth is speaking. It tells us that we have no more time. We must take another path with courageous and global changes. It’s not 2030 or 2050, it’s now”, said the young indigenous woman. Txai is a law student and founder of the Indigenous Youth Movement in Rondonia.