Global Power Shift happened to be in June, very conveniently the same time as my finals. I had to go through this gruelling month where I had to decide which is more important to me, my safe and free semester in law school, or my unpaid, frowned upon, morally demanding and incredibly rewarding work as an “environmentalist”. Amena tells us about her journey through Phase I of 350.org’s Global Power Shift.

Global Power Shift happened to be in June, very conveniently the same time as my finals. I had to go through this gruelling month where I had to decide which is more important to me, my safe and free semester in law school, or my unpaid, frowned upon, morally demanding and incredibly rewarding work as an “environmentalist”.

Needless to say, I chose the latter.

One of the more reassuring aspects of working on climate change is the global solidarity, a concept that was noted again and again during our time in Istanbul. From the Pacific warriors that served as an inspiration to everyone, and I mean everyone, to the Keystone Pipeline banner that was held by five people, none of whom were American or Canadian. Say what you will, but I think the future is in fact brighter.

Participants at Global Power Shift. Source: Green Prophet
Participants at Global Power Shift. Source: Green Prophet

Being generally a person that likes taking action to my own hands, I was in the Nonviolent Direct Action track. Now I come from a country with a lot of turmoil, nonviolent direct action is what you have for dinner, with a side of  police brutality. In Egypt, we often complain that it’s not a very “welcoming” environment, with all the political drama and the consistent unrest, it’s always hard to start complaining to people about recycling and more green, even with energy sovereignty and sustainable development, you’ll always get the cold shoulder.

But seeing a lot of what people had gone through really puts things into perspective, I remember a story that one of the facilitators, Hannah, told us. She was telling us about a time they were doing a climbing action, and she started going into details about all the things that could’ve went wrong and all the things that DID go wrong. I couldn’t help but think of all the times things went wrong during actions for all kinds of different reasons. I could honestly say that it completely changed the way I look at things, past, present or future, the way actions go has completely been altered.

Looking back, after all the -I’m going to go ahead and say it- heroes, that I’ve met, I’m extremely relieved having made the decision to ditch my finals.


Featured Image Credit: Grist

Written by Amena Adel

Political activist by default not by choice. Luckily, a part of the 350.org team in Egypt and the Egyptian Arab Youth Climate Movement team. I've worked on climate change issues in Egypt for five years with a focus on community based solutions and awareness. We've recently started tackling issues like Energy sovereignty and starting a fight against coal.