“It is unfair to waste our childhood solving the problems of 40-50 year olds” – Moldova.org

Ilinca is 15 years old and is determined to save the planet. She is one of a growing number of young people who see their future in jeopardy, who are disillusioned with the inaction of adults, and who have no other solution but to fight for it.

Today it is hard to deny the effects of global warming: temperatures are rising slowly but surely, Europe is engulfed in fires, and extreme weather events are becoming more and more common. However, the great world leaders an act Steps back in the fight against climate change.

Young people are at the forefront of environmental movements, with millions of protesters around the world in 2019. “Young people will save the world,” “All hope for future generations” are some of the messages that He hears of world leaders. However, how often are young people heard? How do they feel when adults tell them that the future of humanity depends on them? And how do they deal with an ambiguous future and double messages from those who are supposed to provide them with that future?

I spoke with Ilinca, an environmental activist from Moldova, to find out the answers to these questions.

These days, Ilinka participates in Fridays for the Future (the movement launched by Greta Thunberg) in Italy, where she and her colleagues arrive by bus, not by plane. But he is from Inovy, Criolini, where he just graduated from the ninth grade and where he directs most of his efforts as an activist. He tells me that it all started a few years ago, when people from the EcoVisio Association came to school with a series of projects. “They were asking about older ages, eighth grade, ninth grade, but I went.” He was in the sixth grade. This is how you learn how to write projects, budget and earn your first €100 for a non-formal education project. “That’s how I became a little community activist,” Ilinka tells me. She also learned from EcoVisio about the environment and over time realized that it was the most important topic for her. “A couple of years ago I started following more Instagram pages, reading news and watching documentaries. Of course, I felt this environmental concern. However, I think we need to be more optimistic, to organize movements and activities for the environment.”

He has been involved in various projects since he was 12, which is why most of his friends are also active, “otherwise we wouldn’t get along,” he says. However, when I asked her about her classmates, she said that very few of them are aware of the environmental issues. “There were 30 students in the class and I didn’t notice that they were fully aware or aware of what was going on in the world right now. If I tell them about the environment, it is the same boring topic for them.”

chemistry lesson

He believes that even teachers are not ready to deal with this topic. Most upset in their chemistry lesson, when they were studying how plastics are formed. “…and there was a little paragraph about how we need to protect the environment from plastic and recycle plastic. And I wanted to take a long break and say, ‘Recycling is a myth, we don’t have to recycle, we have to produce less waste!”

He believes that education in Moldova not only has to change, but that at the age of only fifteen, he also understands the pressure teachers face. “This change has to come from the top. We often complain about the teachers, but I know the context very well, because my mother is a teacher, and I know the pressure that is being put on them and what salaries they receive.”

He says teachers are forced to “write documents” rather than educate, and he was even considering starting a movement to “abolish bureaucracy” in education. This way he will also be able to save some paperwork. He recognizes that effective change in education takes time, which is why he will emphasize non-formal education, “for example, to have more days where we work as educators and I think there will be activists to present interesting topics, such as ecology or gender equality” .

I ask her what she thinks of people pinning all their hopes on future generations, and she says it’s “a kind of green bleaching,” that is, when someone does their best to appear green but doesn’t take concrete action. “I read some articles in which the heads of the oil companies said ‘We put our trust in the younger generation, and we have hope in them, they will change the future.’ This is very unfair, because the past generations, our fathers and grandfathers, have been deceived and I think they have been robbed by the wave of consumption. To them is owning a house, ten cars and planes. But in reality, they do not realize that they are leaving all the responsibility on us,” says Ilinka. “Even if we were involved and were very active in this field, this does not guarantee that we will save the planet. I think it is unfair that we lose our childhood just to solve the problems of people between the ages of 40 and 50, especially since it is the working people who should solve these problems, not us.” He also hears these things from teachers, who tell them they have a lot of media resources and will change the future, while “not realizing it’s their responsibility to give us the future.”

“I hear, but I pretend not to hear”

And if some adults put the responsibility on their shoulders, aware of the problems they leave behind, others ignore them. “Most of the time I think we don’t hear. I think adults live with the idea that they know everything, know better than us, and have experienced more in the years they have lived.” She is supported by the closest adults in her life, her parents, when she goes to international conferences and makes friends from all over the world, because they “help her develop”, but if you try to talk to them more seriously about her work “they take this intolerance and I say it’s better slowly, I don’t tell them all Once,” Ilinka laughs. “I hear, but I pretend I didn’t. They might consider these to be lies from the internet, especially since in the context of the climate crisis we don’t really feel it on our skin. There are some fires going on in Spain, what does it matter to us?”

Since learning about environmental issues, Ilinca has made many changes in her life as well. She became a vegetarian and says this is a decision that her parents came to quite easily. “But vegans seem to be a strange thing, a very strange thing, a very extreme thing, and I’m not trying to talk about it.” This is how I started to cook more and became more independent. He no longer buys clothes and even organized a similar event in Innovy free shopping, Where a number of village youth met and exchanged clothes. I got the idea from a friend who organized something similar in Chisinau – “I went for two copies and filled my wardrobe with new clothes.” Take shorter showers, don’t leave the light on when you leave the room, and try to replace plastic bags. “I think I’m getting busier,” Ilinca says.

Now he wants to go to secondary school in Iai, so that he can get a good education, but also be close to Moldova, where he can continue his activities. She does not yet know what she will do in the future, but she is sure that whatever she chooses, environmental activity will not disappear from her life. “I was thinking about getting into politics and making laws so people can’t buy plastic. Going to the press and telling people about the climate crisis,” says Ilinka. Until then, he believes, the most important thing is for more and more young people to join the movements fighting the climate crisis, and for the people of Moldova to understand that the situation in our country is just as serious, even if at times more difficult. To see it with the naked eye.

Ilinca likes to keep many of the customs of a poor country like Moldova, such as clothes donated by the family or planting private gardens. “I think Moldova should not look at Western examples, we do not have a very terrible economy and we are not big polluters. I think we should start now to develop beautiful and green Moldova and try to develop sustainable societies.”

Pictures of Ekaterina Poronina

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