One of the awesome things about this big climate movement is the fact that someone across the ocean from you can put you in contact with climate activists in your own back yard. That’s what happened when 350 folks in North Carolina put me in contact with a local group of activists working to stop a polluting cement factory in Alexandria, Egypt. That’s also how a young Alexandrian girl, Alaa, who e-mailed Bill Mckibben thinking that that there was no existing climate groups in Egypt got in touch with me. What is even more awesome is that we all got to meet face-to-face this weekend in Alexandria’s first 350.org climate leadership workshop.

On Friday, April 20th, I took a train along with 3 young climate organizers from Cairo, Egypt to the coastal city of Alexandria to facilitate a 1-day climate leadership workshop. Awaiting us when we arrived were 12 young Alexandrians, eager to kick-start their newly formed climate action group, 350 Alexandria, with a 5/5 action to highlight climate impacts in Alexandria.

During a session about campaigning, we were joined by Ahmed a member of the local group of activists who had been campaigning to stop the Titan Cement Plant in Alexandria, located in a residential area which is now suffering from the toxic emissions emanating from this plant. The Stop Titan campaign in Wilmington, North Carolina is planning a solidarity action with the Stop Titan campaign in Alexandria on 5/5 to connect the dots between polluting industries such as the Titan plant and the increased flooding that threatens both Willmington and Alexandria.

During this intensive workshop, people got to practice telling their “public narratives”. One of the stories that struck me was 18-year old Alaa’s, who proceeded to describe how despite heavy scepticism from her classmates, she started a solar energy project in her school. And then in the face of more scepticism she decided to get involved in environmental activism. “I was so happy when I got a reply back from 350.org, and even happier to realize that there are Egyptian climate activists. Now I’m here at this workshop in Alexandria with all of you and I feel we can do anything together.”

 

For more climate movement news, follow 350 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

FacebookTwitter