Last week I went to Berlin to become a Climate Reality Leader. To most people who have heard about it – and not everybody has – climate change looms on the horizon like some kind of rampaging monster of our own making, but nobody talks about it! At least not where I live, in Sweden 2018. Here, the political and social debate mostly centers on the consequences of large-scale migration (Sweden is one of the countries that has taken in most immigrants per capita), but people are oblivious to the fact that climate change, in many instances, have exacerbated politically volatile situations and is one of the current reasons for people having to leave their homes, families and countries.
So short-sighted political policies and people’s general disinclination to take charge of the problem made me feel that I had to go to Berlin and get some tools for shouting the truth out loud. Effectively.
I was not the only one. Some 650 other people turned up too. I’ve already written about four of the Nordic participants – Måns, Pinja, Niina, Joao – and their reasons for coming to Berlin. There were, however, some truly international individuals scattered among us Europeans. I met people from Thailand, India, Australia and the USA. And I met a Global Shaper: Matías Acosta from Argentina. Here’s his story:
Matías was born in Argentina but currently resides in the UK. He is Curator of the Global Shapers’ Cambridge Hub. Now that is one impressive job title, and I wish I could explain in detail what it means, but suffice to say that he is a kind of coordinator of the local Shapers’ team in Cambridge. The Global Shapers organization was founded in 2011 by professor Klaus Schwab (Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum) as a means to empower young people to play an active role in shaping agendas at every level of society, from local concerns to global challenges. There are about 7000 shapers globally, and they all work together to create a better world for all of us.
Next summer, Matías and his fellow shapers will host an international conference in collaboration with the University of Cambridge: Shaping Horizons. Here, leaders from government, industry and academia (among others) will discuss themes like the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Humans and Nature – which of course includes climate change!
Just like the Global Shapers, Matías is a very international person! He has lived in Switzerland, Germany and Japan. And even though cultural differences sometimes may be large, he feels that climate change unites us all. Either we swim or we drown together!
Apart from curating hubs (or whatever), Matías is a scientist, involved in finding materials for clean energy technologies at the University of Cambridge. As such, he wanted to go to Berlin to get a wider understanding of climate change and its consequences, as well as learning how to combat it. From now on – he says – he will make sure that the Hub will create awareness about this issue by doing presentations at the university and in the city. Furthermore, we are implementing sustainable standards for our events and Hub activities.
To my mind, this means that an important and influential institution like the University of Cambridge will get further awareness on how to become more sustainable and climate-conscious – which is a significant step in the right direction.
I finally ask him what he would like to say to the world: “We are here today and we have a problem [climate change] that affects us all. Nobody will take care of us if we do not do it. We have time, it is all just about priorities. This should be our priority now!”
I can only agree, wholeheartedly! And I must say that I’m very happy that you came to Berlin, Matías! Our planet needs more people like you! Thank you!