It Lux Like Young FoE Again

14th November 2011

Ten young people arrived from far-flung places across Europe to arrive in the small city of Luxembourg on Sunday 9th October on a mission, writes Alex. I had come from Manchester and stayed overnight in London. I met Adela from Reading FoE and Natascha from FoE Scotland on the Eurostar at 9am and arrived at 3.30pm in Luxembourg with all our bags (and a big Push Europe banner which we hung in the train window all the way – free advertising!)

We didn’t know much about Luxembourg, but when we got there we found a few facts out. The capital city is Luxembourg City, population 90,000, and it also has its own language called Luxembourgish. Much of the city is very old – the city walls date from the 12th century, and it has been the centre of many political struggles. That doesn’t answer the question though… why exactly were people travelling right across Europe to go to Luxembourg?

On Monday 10th October the environmental ministers of Europe were meeting, and we were going to show them they couldn’t ignore young people! We have been asking people from across Europe to send one penny (or cent) to their government environment department as a symbolic investment towards our future and, as a more direct version, a petition! The BUNDjugend (Young FoE Germany) group had made a giant one-cent coin about two metres across and shipped it over like jigsaw pieces.

On the day of the meeting we left the hostel early and arrived at the meeting about 8am. We soon saw ministers arrive and we put on our masks of Cameron, Merkel and the rest of the crew. The faux politicians were milling around by a sign on the ground that said 20%… but we all know that 20% cuts to CO2 by 2020 would be nowhere near good enough! So the strong young activists pushed the giant one cent into the politicians to 30%, then (while politicians cried “it’s not economical!”) kept pushing them to a 40% target!

Media from German and Luxembourg TV stations turned up to interview us and the Polish and Austrian environmental representatives talked to us about our campaign. The meeting had resulted in slightly watered-down commitments to an international legally binding emissions reduction, which is vital for the Durban international climate talks to result in a deal that will prevent huge destruction of life across the world.

The energy of young people is needed more than ever and Young Friends of the Earth will have some really exciting actions coming up around Durban… keep an eye on our Facebook page and on the campaign hub for updates!