Rosalie Salaüm is a Member of Europe Ecologie les Verts (French Greens), head of the Feminism Commission, former international officer and spokesperson for Jeunes écologistes (French Young Greens).
Interviewer : Zélia Bora
Interviewee: Rosalie Salaüm
ZB. In your article, “The Children who accuse us” (Green European Journal, November, 2019), you say that, “the cognitive dissonance generates anger and anxiety that lies at the root of young people’s engagement”. Can you comment on it?
RS: First, this assumption is about those young activist for climate specifically, I don’t know about other kind of activists. Second, to me the feeling of anger and anxiety could be a trigger for activism, since moving to action could be an exit door to externalize intense emotions. Climate changes can create a lot of anxiety about future for young people living nowadays.
ZB. Although not new, youth political activism in the history of Europe this century, has started with Greta Thunberg in Sweden (as far as I am aware. Please correct me if I am wrong). You call it a Social Movement. Can you tell us how different it is from their predecessors, especially taking into consideration sociological studies and definitions of a social movement? How important is the school in the process?
RS.There have always been young activists in many political movements in Europe, and specific youth activism too – very few about climate (student strikes for example). What I call social movement is not only activism, but gatherings, virtually or in real life, of hundreds or thousands (or more) of people fighting for the same cause. Greta Thunberg is one of these representatives in the movement for the climate led by young people. As an activist, I have never heard of a social movement led by young people for the climate before, so I don’t know predecessors.
As I write in the article, those young people are sociologically very similar to older green activists. I didn’t specify the role of schools in those activists’ process to action so I don’t know.
ZB. If so, how do you see its future? What prospects do you see in Europe for an effective intergenerational alliance around some political and specific issues for example like civil movement in the US?
RS. I have not enough knowledge to compare with civil movement in the US. I have no idea neither about a potential intergenerational alliance. What I think is that those young activists are building a very strong European wide and international network, building activists capacities, and training a lot about various political campaign strategies. In less than ten years they will be active in every burning issues about climate change, so their voice will have to be taken into account more and more. It’s up to them to tackle the challenges of their future : I think that nobody could predict what they will invent, inside the institutions, inside newly created institutions, with companies, with associations or in other social movements, etc.
ZB. How does the new generation of European activists understand the policies of fuel consumption, exploitation of natural resources in other continents, wars (as a form of ecological displacement) and the massive result of social problems that originate mass immigration and displacement of populations? In Europe, the US and South Africa, Nigeria and Brazil?
RS. I didn’t talk that much about these subjects with the activists I interviewed, so I think the best is to directly check their statements, for example here : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Nu8i3BoX7jrdZVeKPQShRycI8j6hvwC0/view
Thank you very much .
Thank you Rosalie.
Dec, 10, 2019.
Translation to portugese language:
Review of the text in Portuguese:
Evely Libanori (Universidade Estadual do Paraná)
Zélia Monteiro Bora (Universidade Federal da Paraíba)
Eq ASLE-Brasil team to this interview:
Antonio Felipe B. Neto – Technical support (Universidade Federal da Paraíba)