YGAP 2021 ran for seven days between 3 and 12 November 2021, with 15 participants from 14 countries signing up for the dynamic online experience. The theme for this year was The Dawn of the Apocalypse? Climate Change and a Just Transition, and young global educators, leaders and activists were tasked with collectively identifying the major challenges facing their countries and communities as a result of climate change – and deciding how to respond meaningfully and with impact.
The programme began with an orientation and general introductory session, followed the next day by a two-hour online version of The Amazing Race – one of the highlights of the YGAP experience, which usually takes place around Cape Town, but now was a virtual game in a multi-dimensional South Africa. After division into teams and racing to search for clues, the game winners were team GAPPERS!
From Zombies to space travel
The following week, the YGAP programme began in earnest, beginning with a spirited, slightly quirky and totally engaging presentation by author and ABF national coordinator Herman Geijer, who spoke on “How to survive a Zombie Apocalypse”. While the title (and content) are obviously amusing, Herman uses this device to stimulate discussion on how individuals and communities see themselves preparing for a different kind of crisis – in this case, the changes brought on by climate change.
The second day was themed “A View from the Future”, with IFWEA Educator Melanie Julie introducing us to Dr Justina Transition, and inviting us to travel in her time-jumping spaceship Egalitaire, 50 years into the future.Particpants were encouraged to envisage what their community and country would look like if NO climate change action were taken.The goal here was to raise awareness of the global inequalities surrounding global warming climate change disasters.
Day Three looked at “Changing Behaviour – Education for Actors and Action”. Participants were asked to imagine that they were now massive social media influencers (bigger than Renaldo!), and tasked with thinking about how they would spread the message about climate change and climate action, with specific reference to involving trade unions.
Day Four was mainly focused on preparing participants to create their unique “Postcard from the Future”, in which they were asked to choose a platform (video, infographic, social media post etc) to advocate their climate action message to young people, particularly those involved in worker education, trade unions and civil organisations.
Remarkable and moving postcards
The final day was spent on postcard presentation. The sheer range of postcards from this year’s participants was both remarkable and moving, with messages ranging from a reminder that “if we all act together, we can make a difference” to a somber rap-poem about how we have ruined the earth, to a call for trade unionists to get involved. You can view the postcards here
All activities were accompanied by reading lists, recommended videos and news clips. While an online version of YGAP is obviously more challenging then meeting in person, the engaged and informed participation of young leaders was both impressive and inspiring. We hope to see them back in person in 2021.