I was first confronted with the consequences of climate change through the draft report "Limits to Growth" written by the "Club of Rome" in 1971.  My friends and I took the findings in this report very seriously and started changing our own behaviour. We refused plastic bags at the bakery and insisted on using paper; we went for biological foods to avoid chemicals; and some of us became vegetarians. We were students and as such, would protest against everything we disagreed with. Whether it be the inequality between men and women, the exploitation of blue collar workers or the import of oranges from South-Africa. We were left-wing idealists, as people would call us. Many of us enrolled in the communist party and faced the consequences later in life by being refused by multinational employers. 

One thing is for sure- we all knew the dangers of unlimited growth with the prediction that the Earth would not make it another 100 years. Now I live in the year 2020 and am looking back almost 50 years. It seems I somehow forgot about these dangers and I find myself wondering what happened.

Did I ignore the negative messages? Was my personal wealth too tempting? My whole life became focused on growth- my personal development, my career, my family, my house, my car, my everything. 

This reflection brings about a mix of shame and guilt. Shame that I forgot about the warning and guilt towards my daughter's generation and her future children, my grand children, that we are leaving them in a state of climate emergency.  At the same time, I look to my rational side. I am aware that my feelings will not help to solve the problem. So can I leapfrog the past 50 years? Probably not, but I refuse to let that be a reason to do nothing. Instead, I want to contribute to the fight against climate change. My first step is to share my knowledge and experience through these articles. I hope my insights will inspire other people to share their expertise so we can collaborate to make the world beautiful for us and the generations to come.

  • Sannah van Balen

Jacobien Kamp is our first opinion piece author with her series, "Psychology in the climate emergency", focussing on the often ignored emotional and behavioural aspects the fight against climate change.

With a background in organisational psychology, Jacobien built up extensive experience working as a consultant, coach and trainer for a broad variety of organisations. Over the years she supported research in high-tech industries, healthcare organisations, retail and insurance companies. Her strength lies in facilitating transitions and joint ventures, team building and conflict management as well as leadership and executive coaching. Always with a passionate focus on the human factor as potential source for improvement or enrichment.

Connect with Jacobien on LinkedIn

  • Sannah van Balen

The afternoon of the UN Youth Climate Summit featured a “Town Hall” session, during which a panel of world leaders answer direct questions from young people. Obviously, this was the moment many young activists were waiting for; a chance to ask questions and get straight answers in understandable language.

During the session, Swetha Saseedhar, an NYC-based activist, broke out in chant after challenging the whole purpose of the Youth Summit. She started by asking:

“Dear world leaders, I ask you.. What is the purpose of this Youth Summit if two days from now you are letting fossil fuel corporations and CEO’s of corporations take the stage along with member nations and allowing them to influence climate policy when they are the ones that created this crisis?” and added “You claim you want to listen to youth’s solutions but this feels more like a photo-op”.

Swetha stood up from her seat and was joined by her fellow colleagues in chanting:

“The emergency is now; time to kick polluters out!”

This is what happens when you invite young activists to the UN. Young people are trained to think critically and to speak up when their bullshit-meter goes off. It is difficult to trust when life is governed by a decision-making system that seems inherently outdated, favouring corporations that are part of the problem rather than the solution.

The complete UN Youth Climate Summit is available to watch on Youtube. Fast forward to 2:08:30 to watch Swetha pose her question and bring activism into the UN.


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