Farhana Yamin's journey from climate summits to street protests

“I felt like the whole multilateral world, the international human rights framework, was collapsing around me,” Ms Yamin said. When, fro...


“I felt like the whole multilateral world, the international human rights framework, was collapsing around me,” Ms Yamin said.

When, from a boardroom at a United Nations climate conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, Ms. Yamin watched Mr. Trump win the election, she was disheartened. She felt her 30-year career as a government lawyer and climate negotiator was for naught.

“It was all going up in smoke,” she said. “I couldn’t tell my customers, I couldn’t lie to the Marshall Islands, that we were going to fix this.” Ms. Yamin took a year off, spending most of her time taking nature therapy classes and camping in nature for weeks at a time.

In her spare time, Ms. Yamin began reading about other social movements, such as the anti-apartheid campaign and the suffragist movement, which used social mobilization and nonviolent resistance to advance their causes. “I felt the climate movement was almost unique and fragile, relying mostly on insider tactics and not movement building,” she said. “He didn’t rely on the full sets of tools.”

It was this idea that rekindled Ms. Yamin’s passion for the climate and helped her get back to work. Instead of returning to climate diplomacy, Ms Yamin joined the fledgling group Extinction Rebellion movement, a decentralized group that uses nonviolent action and civil disobedience, in 2018.

Initially, Ms. Yamin became the leader of Extinction Rebellion’s political team, using her knowledge of diplomatic terrain to help the movement be more strategic in its activism and secure more funding. Even in her new role as an activist, however, Ms Yamin felt she relied too much on her intellectual skills instead of putting her body on the line. The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was published in October 2018, Ms Yamin was reading the report as activists filled Parliament Square in London. Seeing pictures of young people refusing to move and waiting to be arrested, she said to herself, “I want to be with them.

Ms. Yamin spent the next two years working with Extinction Rebellion, organizing and protesting alongside other activists. She stepped down from her role with the band in 2020 due to disagreements with other executives. Ms Yamin said she felt the movement was not focused enough on climate justice.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Farhana Yamin's journey from climate summits to street protests
Farhana Yamin's journey from climate summits to street protests
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