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`Qatar in Brussels` youth gathering.
 13.01.2013 22:03:33
Qatar in Brussels youth gathering

11 December 2012

Last week, Young Friends of the Earth Europe organised Qatar in Brussels a week-long gathering of youth from across Europe, to follow the United Nations climate negotiations in Doha, Qatar. The gathering got a political update from its representatives in Doha via video call every day, and held workshops discussing the issues and developments. 

Disappointment with the lack of meaningful progress in Qatar was evident among the youth activists, and protests were staged in solidarity with those negatively affected by climate change.

Saara from Young Friends of the Earth Austria said: It makes me proud to understand the complicated issues of our society. But the more I understand, the more I feel this anger growing inside me against the people who are responsible for these meaningless discussions and weak words.

It wasnt all pessimistic, however, as attendees of Qatar in Brussels held street theatre demonstrations at different locations, including the crowded Christmas market. Saara continued: We held our street theatre and everything went fantastic. People were stopping, asking us for the reason of our demonstration. We raised the interest of the Christmas market visitors. It was very motivating seeing that it sometimes only takes a few strong words to wake somebody's mind.

One of the highlights of the week, the street-theatre protests was staged in solidarity with people in the Philippines who are suffering the devastating consequences of climate change. Typhoon Bopha, which killed over 1,000 people and left thousands of others stranded, hit while the talks in Qatar were happening.

Young Friends of the Earth demonstrated with big red dots carrying the different impacts of runaway climate change, all emitting from a polluting European Union. The motif of red dots was also being used by campaigners in Qatar and elsewhere, as an international symbol of solidarity and to mark the locations of climate disasters. At Qatar in Brussels, Young Friends of the Earth Europe also sent a joint open letter to Connie Hedegaard, the EU commissioner for climate action, calling for the EU to change its position at Doha to one supporting stronger climate action.

Young Friends of the Earth Europe is a grassroots network of young people and youth organisations working collectively for social and environmental justice on a local, national and European level. Young Friends of the Earth Europe organises events and inspires young people to take action, on issues ranging from climate change to food and agriculture and education for sustainability to ensure the voices of young people are heard in Europe and beyond.

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