Humans are the motivation behind Clara’s work with climate adaptation

In the series of articles by our Youth Newsroom reporters, Iryna Ponedelnik from Belarus interviews a passionate young woman advocating for climate adaptation.

Clara von Glasow is a passionate young woman who spends a lot of time advocating for climate adaptation. The 26-year-old activist studied law and business in Germany, and is an active member of the youth-led NGO Klimadelegation. It is a group of young people who are committed to ambitious and sustainable climate protection. Clara delivered a motivational speech at Youth for Climate Adaptation Conference and I decided to have a chat with her.

Clara von Glasow

Clara, could you please tell me what are you doing in NGO Klimadelegation?

We aim to preserve a world worth living in for present and future generations. For more than ten years now, we have been participating in the UN Climate Change conferences (COP). We have been following the negotiations and agreements around adaptation especially the failed attempts for sufficient finances for adaptation. Early last year we organized a project with young climate experts from Latin America and the Caribbean. They met with European decision makers, civil society and scientists. One message the young experts emphasized was that climate adaptation is crucial for their countries at this very moment as they are hit by extreme weather events without sufficient protection.

Now I understand why you encourage youth to watch speeches from your friends Roxana Borda Mamani from Peru and Juan Pablo Sierra from Columbia.

Many of my friends in Latin America and the Caribbean need support in terms of resources for adaptation but most importantly their voices and solutions need to be included when developing and implementing these solutions.

You also talk about your way to the COP25 experience in speech. You and the project team did a good job after relocating COP25 to Madrid.  How was your participation in "Sail to the COP"?

My participation in Sail to the COP was an experience for a lifetime. Crossing the Atlantic with a sailing think tank about sustainable traveling was incredible. The people on board have become my family. The project also empowered me to organize a follow up project called "Sail for Climate Action" with 20 Latin American and Caribbean youth beginning in 2020. We wanted to sail from Colombia to Europe to attend a UN Climate Change Conference. Being on a ship with a diverse group of amazing people has taught me so much. Sadly it had to end half way across the Atlantic due to the pandemic. But we already have new plans for this year!

Twenty youth on board a sailing ship
©Clara von Glasow

What is your motivation to work with the climate adaptation topic?

My main motivation is humans. I believe that in order to survive as humanity we need to find solutions to adapt to the changing climate as well as mitigate our emissions. Especially in climate adaptation it is crucial to have adaptation solutions that are wholesome and just.

Are you scared about the future?

Although generally being an optimistic person, I have some fears regarding our future from a humanitarian perspective. Without drastic changes our world will become even more unjust and even more people will have to suffer. I do, however, have hope because I know that we are capable of these changes.

What are you doing now in a pandemic?

Currently most of my work is behind my laptop which allows me to be connected with young climate activists and experts from all over the world. Together we create campaigns and have meaningful meetings with decision makers to communicate how their decisions influence our present and future. Often this includes producing cool videos or also some funny memes to keep joy alive. It's a big and diverse community and it is great to be part of it.

What gives you the strength to continue your work?

I will continue to build networks and actively support the climate movement with my skills, energy and motivation. As a lawyer I would like to use the law to defend humans and nature. I also want to be active on the political level.

If you were to become the richest person in the world what would you do with money?

Fairly distribute it and repay those who have been exploited for centuries, especially the indigenous people. I am certain that they will know how to best use it.