Participants

The following young people were selected to participate in the Study Session “Youth Encountering Environmental Human Rights”.

Anastasiia Kostrytsia, Ukraine, 21 years old

IMG_5765My name is Anastasiia. I’m environmental sciences student from Ukraine. Also I’m studying international human rights. Moreover, I participated in many international summer schools. In 2011-2012 I was an exchange student at University of Helsinki. I am addicted to traveling, dancing and the nature!

First of all, I would like to tell you about my experience as an environmental activist. I am a member of a few organizations such as:

–          NGO “Green Wave” is an environmental organization of students. Currently, we have such projects as “Green Cities”, school  of eco-friendly lifestyle “RE-Art”, “Green Cinema”.

–          AIESEC KYIV. We run the project ‘Green Rush’, the main idea of which is to raise the level of environmental consciousness of young people, to provoke discussion on globally significant topic, to encourage people to take action.

–          climatinfo.org.ua. We provide the Ukrainians with up to date, interesting and true information about climate change.

–          350.org. This global movement, with promote an idea to begin practical steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately.

Personally, I am interested in the questions of the access to environmental information and environmental democracy. In Ukraine, the right to obtain certain environmental information from a public authority is not well understood and implemented. So, I am looking forward to the discussion with other participants how is the situation in their countries.

I believe that the environmental human rights is very important question that should be  discussed not only on the local, but also on the global level. I hope that during Youth Encountering Environmental Human Rights Meeting in Budapest, Hungary, we will share our ideas and views, and as a result every participant will come back home with the inspiration for the new environmental human rights activism. 

 Liliana Religa, Poland, 25 years old

do cvWhat’s your relation to EHR activism?

Environmental human rights embrace all spheres of human activity, so I’d say that they were present in my past projects concerning Green New Deal, CAP beyond 2013, green cities, women against nuclear, energy democracy, energy transition and European Citizens’ Initiative. I would call myself a researcher rather than activist, since I have focused so far on publishing and translating of green-related articles. I find such solutions helpful in raising awareness about the links between the environment and human well-being.

What’s the most burning issue in the world that bothers you now and you want to change?

Deprivation of the fundamental right to water kills two million people every year! Those who manage to survive are uneducated and trapped in the vicious circle of poverty, because they must search for water. Further problems concern hunger (how to farm without water?), disease, social inequalities, poverty, all of which have a greater impact on women. Neither is the right to water respected in the EU, still differently and due to other reasons such as privatization, contaminated wells, lacking purification plants. I am also convinced that in the EU we have more possibilities to fight with corporate policies.  We could change this burning problem with e.g. ECI for universal access to water and sanitation and for protection of water services from liberalisation. We should also affect current obsession with unsustainable consumption of bottled water, since it is co-responsible for natural disaster in the Global South.

What are the topics you’d like to discuss with others?

I am interested in gender aspects of environmental human rights, so I wish to deepen my knowledge about ecofeminism and gender-specific food sovereignty. I’d be pleased to discuss lobbying techniques especially in relation to environmental refugees and ecocide. I hope to become inspired by co-participants experiences in HER activism.

Morgan Henley, USA, 22 years old

imageLiving in Prague, Czech Republic, I am a student of the Czech language at Charles University. I have a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of South Carolina but I am originally from Jacksonville, Florida. I began studying Czech language with the hopes to be able to better connect the US and the Czech Republic politically. I have been living in Prague for almost 2 years and during that time I have volunteered for IYNF and IN IUSTITIA, an organization that provides legal aid to victims of hate crime. While studying in the US, I was active in working with my university’s environmental sustainability efforts.

My relations to environmental human rights is a young one. I have studied and am familiar with the concepts of both and I am eager to learn more to connect them. I believe that through recognizing the links between the two that we will be able to maximize the potential of their effects and depth of their reach. If environmentalist and human rights forces mutually cooperate with each other, they will be able to benefit from the overlapping support and experiences of the other. I am particularly interested in learning about ways to introduce the concept of environmental human rights to advocates of one concept but not necessarily the other.

On a global scale, I am very interested in the complex system of energy and trying to answer how can we realistically produce enough energy in a sustainable way for the future. I am particularly intrigued by nuclear energy and the debates for and against the use of it. In my opinion, I believe that the world’s energy problems are a direct result of overwhelmingly strong private interests and narrow minded government policies. Until we have more people that are professionally unrelated to energy corporations making decisions about the way we produce and use energy, we will never be able to see changes for sustainability. The public needs to be accurately informed about where their energy comes from and what the effects are on the environment.

I am very interested in discussing how to have a better dialogue about connecting environmentalism and human rights. Additionally, I am eager to discuss with the participants their thoughts and opinions regarding nuclear energy. I would also like to explore the thoughts and overall knowledge of everyone’s native food systems and if there exists any disparity between people of lower income and their access to healthy foods. This is a problem that is widespread in my country and I feel that it is a result of bad environmental policies that also directly affects people’s overall welfare. I hope to educate the group about this issue and how it exists in the USA and exploring the possible solutions and strategies to change it.

Tatiana Yurchenko, Russia, 25 years old

IMG_2483I work for an environmental NGO Tahoe-Baikal Institute (TBI) that provides watershed and conservancy education for international youth groups and runs other programs, seminars and trainings on environmental topics.

The vast majority of my career experience has been closely tied with the non-profit sector and environmental protection. Since my second year at university (2006) until the present moment I have been volunteering with the Great Baikal Trail (GBT) non-profit organization, which has influenced my world views enormously and turned me into environmental activist. From my involvement in GBT and TBI activities I grew interested in all aspects of conservation and environmental education.

I’m deeply interested in EHR activism as it is the least discussed issue in Lake Baikal region. When an environmental issue arises, we always tend to see it in terms of nature, but not as something that violates the rights of local people. I believe that EHR should be introduced into international human rights as a separate and independent unit, because without it, certain crucial human rights cannot be properly ensured. I’m looking forward to get as much knowledge in this field as possible and share it with local environmental organizations and on a grass root level.

From my point of view, the most important issue in the world is the environmental illiteracy of the majority of the population. Even though green habits and practices are becoming popular and even trendy, most of people don’t understand that by trying to make this world more environmentally friendly, we are not saving the Earth, but its people.

There are many topics that I would love to discuss with fellow participants. For example, what are their experiences with EHR? How can this be applied in practice? And what are the possible ways of defending our rights when destructive decisions are made at government level?

 Maria Gkountouma, Greece, 34 years old

Well, I had a BA in English Language and Literature and had worked as an English language teacher in state secondary and adult schools for 9 years. Currently, I’ve been assigned the post of Environmental Education Officer in an Environmental Education Center. I am an overactive multitasked person, constantly pursuing my academic interests, personal development and hobbies. I’m interested in many fields, but I love international affairs and sociology, therefore currently I am writing my thesis on civil society organizations, as part of an MSC in Adult Learning and Global Change: Human Capital and Knowledge Management. Among my hobbies, I love astronomy, being introduced to new places and cultures, conversing with people, attending or engaging in arts and outdoor sports, especially hiking up in the mountains.Well, most people tend to connect activism directly to politics. In that sense, I’d say that I don’t have any relation to Environmental Human Rights Activism. However, I am involved in EHR from other perspectives. My current job post involves researching, publishing, lecturing and organizing seminars, conferences and workshops on environmental issues as well as raising environmental awareness among underage students and adults by carrying out environmental education projects. Additionally, as a post-graduate researcher interesting in CSOs and social movements, I have investigated similar actions on the environmental field.There are too many issues of environmental concern around the Globe. I am deeply concerned about food security is relation to environment sustainability as well as alternative energy sources, which directly affects Greece nowadays. Additionally, I would like to discuss various topics, such as biotechnology and human awareness, waste management, which is also a really hot issue in Greece, sustainable agriculture and green salary. Of course, any environmental issue is worth discussing and reflecting on, so I look forward to having really fruitful conversations.

Ramón Martínez, Spanish living in Germany, 26 years old296044_10150902343115151_1670116607_n

A short description of yourself;
I’m a normal happy person from the north of Spain who likes freedom, enjoys creativity and loves making things different.

What’s your relation to EHR activism?
I’m member of End Ecocide in Europe, a European Citizens Initiative that aims to get at least one million signatures from EU citizens to invite the European Commission to adopt legislation to prohibit, prevent and pre-empt Ecocide.
But that’s new and big, usually I’m active in local environmental and creative activism.  Since 2007 I’ve been part of cooperative projects and installations in countries from United States, India and Tunisia to Spain, UK and Germany.
What’s the most burning issue in the world that bothers you now and you want to change?
Last week it was carnival in Germany and I was part of the parade. We were giving a lot of free candy to children and older, but in some moments I tried to ask some of those people for something for myself. The reaction was in most cases extremely selfish and people didn’t want to share that that they got for free. This small anecdote reflects a veryi mportant part of our mentality that we need to change if we want to get better.
What are the topics you’d like to discuss with others?
How to engage people, help people feeling they can be part of change and being proud of their participation

Kadri Kalle, Estonia, 28

DSC_014• A short description of yourself:

I’ve been involved in sustainability and related issues for almost 10 years, and after my Master studies I continued working as sustainability officer at my university (the job that didn’t exist there before!). I’m also interested in getting to know what affects human behaviour, how our choices are developped, what makes us happy and what is the role of sustainability in there. I love talking about those topics, cooking together with friends, and wondering around with my photo camera (I still prefer to photograph on a film).

• What’s your relation to EHR activism?

I haven’t exactly been involved in EHR issues before, until now when we started with “End Ecocide in Europe”. Since then, being the Estonian campaign manager, I’ve tried to look into the topics, but most probably my main activities are still ahead 🙂

• What’s the most burning issue in the world that bothers you now and you want to change?

I do think it shouldn’t be considered normal, that our everyday stuff is actually based on large scale environmental destruction, which is not only damaging the ecosystem balance, but also affecting local people.

• What are the topics you’d like to discuss with others?

I’ve become interested in how legislation can change moral values and vice versa. And in a time where there are many different groups of people with different value sets, how can all this co-exist.

Ioanna Demosthenous, 25 years old, Cyprus.

Photo idI am a lawyer, registered at the Republic of Cyprus. I have an LLB from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens- Faculty of Law, and an LLM in Public International Law from the University of Nottingham. I was a trainee lawyer at the Law Office of the Republic of Cyprus for a year, dealing mostly with Public International and European Union Law issues of the Republic. Since September 2012, I am assisting the professor of Public International Law at the University of Cyprus, teaching on his behalf the Millennium Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations’ General Assembly, at the dawn of the new millennium. It is well known that the 7th millennium development goal is regarding sustainable development. Teaching to my students regarding sustainable development and the protection of the environment in depth, focusing mostly on the Rio de Janeiro conference, Rio +10 conference in Johannesburg and the most recent Rio+20 conference regarding sustainable development together with the Kyoto Protocol and the most recent situation and agreement regarding the Kyoto Protocol made me understand how important environmental human rights are. Together with my educational background as a lawyer and being taught modules such as human rights and environmental law during my undergraduate/postgraduate studies has increased my interest in the field. This period I am writing an article regarding the question if environmental catastrophe can be interpreted as threat to international peace and security under the chapter 7 of the United Nations’ Charter. Currently, I am participating at two non-governmental organization that have to work and cooperate with the youth. I am the student trainee exchange programme director for ELSA CYPRUS (European Law Student Association) and also at the same time I am the ambassador of Cyprus for the European Student Think Tank (EST), trying to promote EST and bring Cypriot Students in the EST family, in order to communicate, cooperate and discuss their thoughts, proposals and problems regarding European Union and European Union affairs.During my undergraduate studies I have taken human right modules, where I achieved distinction. Also, during my Erasmus studies in Hungary at the University of Pecs, I have also taken human right modules, achieving distinction as well.

I have participated in the 7th multidisciplinary seminar for young scientists with the title “Green Economy: The challenge of the sustainable development” held by the European Centre of Environmental Research and Training, with the collaboration of the Office of the European Parliament in Greece. The most burning issue that bother me at the time, is the climate change and the disappearance of small island states. It is true that climate change is a big threat not only for our planet but humanity as well. For the first time in the world history instead of having more new countries at the United Nations we are facing the possibility the number of the member states to be decreased. For example, for the first time, because of the rise of the sea level, we are witnessing the disappearance of small islands states, like the state of Tuvalu, and the threat for them to be vanished from the world atlas. Another major concern regarding the serious issue of state disappearance is the newly engaged norm of “environmental refugees”. Where are these people going? Are countries bound to save these people? Are countries bound to host them? Is the environmental catastrophe the new interpretation of threat to international peace and security, as the chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter is recalling?

All these issues together with the not political willingness of states to compromise and find a solution regarding pollution and the day after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol have to be taken under consideration from the youth. Our ancestors’ unwillingness to cooperate in order to solve these serious problem of environmental catastrophe must not keep young people like us inactive. Sustainable development is a human right. After all, “we did not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”

Selina Nwulu, UK, 27 years old

A short description of yourself;

I am a writer, poet, campaigner and researcher currently based in London. I have worked for several not for profit organisations campaigning for social and environmental justice. I am also interested in how education can also be a tool for social change.

What’s your relation to EHR activism?

I have worked for several human rights and environmental organisations. I think looking at the social and human stories behind environmental injustice is key. I have particularly worked with UK based communities who are most affected by environmental injustice- those living in poor condition housing with lack of lack of green spaces,  those who live near factory plants and airport flight paths, those who have poor health due to the area they live in- asthma due to poor air quality, for example, and who have no access to local decision making practices in their area. I have worked in organisations that look at exploitation of oil multinationals. I worked specifically on Nigeria, looking in at race politics and structural injustices in the Niger Delta and the levels of violence and corruption used by oil corporations such as Shell to maintain resource exploitation

What’s the most burning issue in the world that bothers you now and you want to change?

Lots of things- however, I feel the underlying issue behind injustice is fatigue and apathy for ourselves and our neighbours, and lack of connected people power. Together, working as a community we have the power to change things- I think we forget about this sometimes (or are too distracted)

 What are the topics you’d like to discuss with others?

How to overcome apathy. Hierarchies within suppressed hierarchies- even amongst the ‘oppressed’ do we replicate the same structures of power?Affected communities in the UK-  as mentioned aboveMy project Britain on Trial- using art as a tool of activism

Nicolas Delrieu, France, 24 years old

DSCF7467I live in Pyrénées mountains in South of France, near to Spain. I am interesting by nature and love be outdoor, natural farming, simple ways of life, meet and share with people, travel, music and arts, discover things everytime. I worked during 3 years within Solafrika on awareness activities, camp and workcamps in mountains with teenagers. Also involved in local organisations which work on knowledges sharing and awareness of local and global issues, on ecological workcamps with young people. Now participating to training courses in France and Europe, and doing a training course in natural agriculture.

Relation with Human rights activism

-Within Solafrika : work on awareness activities about international imbalance with food, water, energy, discriminations, … and share possibilities of actions. Training courses to learn how to build systems which economize energy or with renewable energy.

-Volonteer within Coqueli’Causse, a organisation who aware local population to local and global issues, do links between people, knowledges, farmers and eco-builder in a local territory in France

-In link with « Inform’action », an organisation analysing medias, giving news and good news, …

-Experiment natural garden and share knowledges on it (against intensive industrial agriculture)

-Little bit of street art in cities… words and images can bring about some reflexions…

-Sharing of natural agriculture knowledges

Most burning issue in the world I want to change

The death of soils… In a lot of places in the world, intensive agriculture (chemical and some organic also) is going to sterilise and polluate soils. This issue can be solve by using natural agriculture (no ploughing, no hoeing, no pesticides, no fertilizer)…

Other burning issues :

  • « Francafrica » politic (colonisation is not over)
  • Nuclear energy in the world, in France and shale gaz extraction..

Topic I want to discuss

-Share activities, actions, experiences, ways of activism

-Risks and benefits of energies, auto-construction, eco-construction

-Agriculture, deforestation/desertification

 

Romuald Bokej, Sweden, 32

2011.09 Romuald BokejA short description of yourself:

Environmental science student, green blogger, founder of Lithuanian animal rights NGO, eco-activist, social educator, musician & farmer.

What’s your relation to EHR activism?

Have covered some EHR-related issues in articles and blog posts; studying issues of sustainable development and interconnectedness of environmental and socio-economic issues at Södertörn University, Sweden; have been involved in projects, organizations and activism promoting vegetarianism/veganism as a major measure to deal with global and regional environmental and human rights issues.

What’s the most burning issue in the world that bothers you now and you want to change?

Rising meat consumption combined with intensive short time-span-based agricultural methods and strategy, with their huge negative impact on vital resources, environment and human rights.

What are the topics you’d like to discuss with others?

Eco-awareness taught in schools? Global water scarcity? Measures to be taken for biodiversity loss?

Anna Varfolomeeva (Ania), Russia – Slovenia, 25 years old

me_onegoGreetings, or lep pozdrav, from Slovenia! My name is Ania, I am from Russia, but this year I am working for the Slovenian NGO “Special Education Centre Janez Levec”. Last year I graduated from Central European University in Budapest, and my Master thesis was devoted to indigenous people’s rights in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. I especially focused on the importance of land and natural resources for indigenous peoples’ sustainability. The control over land and its resources is nowadays the most problematic issue of indigenous rights in many countries. Hopefully we will be able to raise this topic during the training and to make comparisons. I am willing to work on the topic of indigenous rights in future, as I am planning to apply for a PhD next year.

In Russia I was participating in the activities of International Youth Club “Solveig”, and helped in organization of Barents Ecology Film Festival (http://beffest.com).  The festival takes place every year in my home city – Petrozavodsk, the Republic of Karelia, Russia. Its participants are young filmmakers mostly from the countries of the Barents region (Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden).

I have a lot to learn on the topic of environmental human rights, and thus am looking forward to meeting all of you in Budapest for the training.

Olena Dub, 30 years old, Ukraine

538426_3126518895071_1005988453_nI’m Olena from Ukraine (Kyiv), and I’m a coordinator of anti-smoking project SmokeFreeKyiv (ngo “Media Law Institute”) – very specific, but meanwhile important social project.

Our team works on tobacco control issues through drafting social anti-tobacco legislation and providing advocacy campaign for promoting healthy tobacco-free environment in Ukraine. We do it according to WHO Framework Convention on tobacco control which was ratified by Ukraine in 2006. According to this our NGO focuses especially on total advertising ban and smoke free places (cafes, bars and restaurants) issues. I think all of that is an important part of democratic country which guarantees safe environment and right to health for everybody. Of course, the main goal is to reduce mortality and population decrease in Ukraine (most of deaths in Ukraine are caused by cardiovascular diseases which are caused by smoking and unhealthy lifestyle among youth).

And now we gained a success in Ukraine: 2 important laws have been adopted last year in Ukraine – total tobacco advertising and sponsorship ban; and ban for smoking in public places such as cafes and restaurants. It was hard to struggle against tobacco lobby and transnational tobacco giants in Ukrainian Parliament, but we’ve managed to do that (and actually do it constantly).

Beside my work on anti-tobacco project, I’m a journalist and blogger, and my previous work was close to environmental issues (making tv-programs about Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains, taking part in eco-projects etc.).

The most burning issue disturbing me now is unsustainable over-consumption (in local and global meaning) in the world and violation of the right to access to the ecological information and access to making decisions.

I’m disturbed by how transnational corporations do their business in developing  countries, often getting lands and resources (water, oil, forests) legally – after some “negotiations” with governments (local municipalities and national governments). In my opinion, the basic problem is that governments don’t build plans for their countries strategically and don’t realize all importance of making sustainable policy. Actually, they might realize that, but short-term benefits are always more important for them than welfare of their people. So to talk globally, the most burning issue in the world is to fight against corruption and corporatocracy – the root of all environmental problems.

What I’d like to discuss with others is the most important ecological problem in each participant’s country and methods which are being used for reaching the goals. Should it be peaceful protests and peaceful advocacy campaigns or  maybe today we  need more creative and serious actions? That would be useful for understanding overall situation. And of course, I’m interested in talking about situation with level of smoking in their countries).

Ilkin Kerimov, Azerbaijan, 25 years old

I am young nature loving friend Ilkin from Azerbaijan. I spent my childhood in Lithuania and Latvia. Then moved back to Baku. So, basically it was not an easy period for me to get used to a new environment with all of its new rules that was totally different from the one where I opened my eyes to this wonderful world. I would say this is one of the reasons why later on I started thinking of majoring on subject that will teach me more about the ecology, tourism and backspace of all the different environmental challenges and cultures. I got my 4 years bachelor’s and 2 years of master’s degree on Tourism and Social Cultural Service. Participated in different national and international seminars and conferences, my recent internship was In Eilat, Israel, it was three month with full of experiences and discoveries.

As I have specialized on tourism which directly deals with environmental issues and has human rights part as well. There are different issues in the world that I would like to bring on to the desk to discuss, but one of the burning ones is the “Shortage of Water” issue. For us, water is something that must be there and we are not even imagining a day without it, but then let’s think of people who are dragging to get a drop of it to take the slops off. In some countries, people are still struggling for their rights to water, along with this I am also aware of the countries where water is overused, mismanaged or we can say logically not well balanced even within the country. So, this is the first in the list for me for the change. Rather than this, I would also like to discuss: Global Heat and its influences on People’s Health, and also the issue of polluted landscapes which is a big issue especially for the countries of oil and gas.

Mariana Verbovska, Ukraine, 23 years old

332479_236560373063148_1628333293_oI have been working as a journalist for the past four years now. I
started working for the local newspaper right after my graduation from
the Department of Journalism of Lviv National Ivan Franko  University.
Most of my articles cover the environmental problems in the Western
part of Ukraine. We have cone through hydro power station
construction, illegal deforestation, rods construction etc.
I try to discover the wonders of the nature every day and as a result
I am tempted to believe that green is not just the other other color,
its the way of live and action.

The idea is to educate people, to change their attitude and perception
of the nature. We have to realize its not the source of money its the
source of life and our very existance.

I would gladly talk to the participants on topics covering garbage
separation and recycling in other countries. Unfortunately in Ukraine
we do not have an appropriate legislation base to deal with
environmental issues seriously, yet.

Natalia (Natasha) Luzhkova, Russia, 27 years old

??????????????????????I work both for a research institute and a non-profit organization trying to make geographical science applicable in practice. For the past years my main focus has been on hiking trails and their environmentally friendly constructions. When I got my bike three years ago and started bicycling in the city and nature I realized how limited access to biking environment has been with the lack of bicycle lanes and trails, negative attitude from drivers. Something has to be changed about it but with the scientific proof and community agreement.

Besides work I love running, cross-country skiing, snow-boarding and biking. While travelling my biggest passion is to wake up early in the morning and run a new city.

I believe that access to environmentally friendly transportation is a part of our EHR. It should be promoted on government and community level. If the Government does not see the benefits of bicycling as a means of transportation, serous arguments should be delivered and actions showing the need of the population should be conducted.

The most burning issue that bothers me is the lack of transportation access for all groups of users including physically challenged population and bikers.

Primary, I would like to discuss biking trail issues and biking infrastructure development in different countries and cities. I would like to learn peaceful method of proving your rights for the healthy environment.

Natalia Luchko, Russia, 25 years old

  • A short description

NataliaMy name is Natasha and I am an EVS volunteer in Prague in the organisation called YEE (Youth and Environment Europe). I have been involved in environmental activities for couple of years now, first taking part in ecological summer workcamps and later working first in Russian ecological NGO and becoming a volunteer at YEE. My studies were not connected with the environment in any way as I majored in English linguistics and literature. But over the years I got more and more interested in ecological issues and wanted to become more sustainably living person myself and somehow contribute to the environment activities as well.

  • What’s your relation to EHR activism?

Right now as a volunteer at YEE I am taking part in projects connected with the environment and help at various activities of the ecological farm in Prague where our office is located. I cannot say that I know a lot about environmental human rights but this is exactly the reason why I wanted to take part in the study session and have the opportunity to discuss the topic with other participants.

  • What’s the most burning issue in the world that bothers you now and you want to change?

For me the burning issue is our everyday activities. That many people are unwilling to change their behaviour into a more sustainable one or think that enviromental issues are overstated or do not exist at all. I think if everyone would take responsibility for their everyday activities we would have less problems to deal with.

  • What are the topics you’d like to discuss with others?

How environmental human rights can be protected in their countries and how to make sustainable lifestyle more attractive for many people.

Agnieszka Szymczakowska, Poland/UK, 28 years old

  • A short description of yourself

szymczI’m originally from Poland but for the past nine years I’ve been living in York in UK where I’m now a final year Environmental Economics and Environmental Management student; doing my dissertation on Food Waste. I’m also doing internship in Food and Environment Research Agency within Land Use and Sustainability Team. Currently working on GIS based project about changes of agricultural land use.

I’m very passionate about creating a better sustainable world that will be People-Centered and Earth-Centered. One of my favorite sayings  “Live simply so others may simply live.”

  • What’s your relation to EHR activism?

I have been involved in various environmental programs/events in past. I did participated in few Youth in Action Projects including “Sailing for Sustainability” and “Educate to Sustainability” and various other local and environmental activities so in a way they are interconnected with human rights but I am probably at the moment more of a researcher/scientist than EHR activist.  I have also studied and researched extensively the concepts of EHR during my studies so by connecting human rights and the environment we can brings victims of environmental degradation nearer to the mechanisms of protection that are provided for by human rights.

  • What’s the most burning issue in the world that bothers you now and you want to change?

There are so many burning issues in the world that bothers me deeply starting with the fact that 1 in 7 people in the whole world go hungry everyday and that 1 in 9 people lacks access to clean water and that 1 child dies every 21 SECENDS from a water related disease… is just shocking…and that we have very unequal income distribution in the world and that over 1 million people in developing countries live on $1.25 a day or less… the extent of the poverty as a whole is just very disturbing to me… adding on very harmful economic and political systems makes it even worse… topping up with  a changing climatic patterns (e.g. increasing drought, flooding, rising sea level) requiring a shift in crops and farming practices that may not be easily accomplished; food security and diet globalization is certainly a big issue yet, globally, over half of the food produced today is lost, wasted or discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human-managed food chain. Moreover majority of population in developed world become so disconnected from where our food comes from (actually not just food but everything else that surrounds us) we just take things for granted. The problem of overconsumption by developed nations is in my opinion the biggest problem of our generation… Unsustainable consumption and a growing population will threaten our future security, health and well-being.

  • What are the topics you’d like to discuss with others?

The topics I would like to discuss with others are all those burning issues that I mentioned above.

Sigríður Bylgja (Sigga) Sigurjónsdóttir, Iceland, 25 years old

A short description of yourself;

DSCN3632Icelandic, living in Denmark and studying in Sweden. I love travelling, meeting new people, hearing new perspectives, discovering new things or ideas, enjoying nature and caring for the people around me. I´m finishing a master´s degree in June from Lund University where I´m studying Human Ecology-culture, power and sustainability

What’s your relation to EHR activism?

Activism is new to me but I am eager to learn more about it and participate. I have written articles online that are radical and criticize our world system and I will do more of that. When the “kitchen utilities” revolution was held in Iceland, early 2009 to protest the government and the economic crisis, I took part and spoke out for the young people of Iceland.

I realized the connection between the environment and human rights when conducting my studies at Lund University and experienced it first hand during my internship in Belize and Iceland. That experience has made me more determined to do what I can to fight the system of social inequality that diminishes nature and thus violates human rights.

What’s the most burning issue in the world that bothers you?

Social inequality and a world system that thrives on it since people take it as the status quo and are so fetishized that they don´t realize what is wrong with the business as usual. Attacking the causes instead of the effects is what interests me. Environmentally focused education, involving businesses and increasing consumer awareness are areas that I think are vital to succeed in increasing awareness and creating success in the long run.

Michael Bedunkevich, Russia, 19 years old

michael• A short description of yourself;

Hello everyone, I am a third year student of political science and the second year of law. I live in Tyumen – the city of headquarters  of oil and gas company in Russia( Siberia region).

I am a person, who definitely sure , that he can change a world and save the planet from terrible human activity!

• What’s your relation to EHR activism?

I took part in organization of one of the first non-governmental ecological organization in my region, called Green Line , and we have already done many environmental positive things and activities, so  I am looking forward to share my experience with you and want to learn about your!

• What’s the most burning issue in the world that bothers you now and you want to change?

To my mind there are lot of them, starting with the problem of increasing garbage and ends with the Global Warming, so we should change many things together in one step, if we want to be effective.

• What are the topics you’d like to discuss with others?

Speaking about topics, the choice of them is huge, so I even couldn’t  write them all here , let it be

1)      The most effective ways of Environmental activism.

2)      The relations between government and ecological NGO.

3)      The ways of separating the garbage .

Zala Primc, Slovenia, 26 years old

ZalaI’ve been involved in human rights related issues, social movements, alternative educational projects and similar for quite some years now. I have finished my BA in Cultural and Communicational Studies and I am doing my Master in Management of non-profit organizations. I always worked next to my studies, mostly in various NGOs and cultural institutions in Slovenia. You could say I’m an activist by heart and I strive to avoid making a negative impact on the world, especially when it comes to my “professional” work – I do not want to be paid for harming, exploiting or manipulating people or nature in any way. I just want to somehow contribute to a more just and truly democratic global society. For the time being I am an assistant in Greenpeace Slovenia, work on an educational project for Amnesty International Slovenia, run a small “social” entrepreneurship and work in the Slovenian Cinematheque.

I have just recently started to specifically focus on HER, but they were always a part of the broader economic and social rights projects I’ve worked on. I understand HER in the broader context of economic exploitation, power relations and the class war. People in general, activists, NGOs, small fisherman and farmers face the biggest destructive power – the capital and the current political and economic system. So I think the most effective protection of HER is by trying to change the decision making processes in today’s society. I guess this could be called also the most burning issue in the world that I want to change. I am sure that if people would actually have the power to decide, also the biggest pollution source, the energy industry, would transform radically into a safer, cleaner and sustainable system.

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