This week I am proud to present my good friend and present flatmate (although, not for much longer… sob) Anna Collins as Girl Swoon #3! I’ve known Anna for a couple of years now through youth climatey stuff, but it’s been so great to get to know her better over the past 8 months and create our very own Flat Irresistible (that’s our house)! This year has been a pretty crazy, transitional time for both of us, and I am just so grateful to have had her in my life these past few months. So thank you Anna! Apart from all that smushy stuff, she also has the time and energy to be a complete badass in the UN. Read on.
1) What do you do and why?
I dedicate my life to the climate movement. Because I like to climb mountains, when you get to the top the view is worth it. I follow the UN climate talks around. Because I don’t want to leave my future in others hands. I listen to music. Because without music life is meaningless. I make music. To let my soul out. I paint. To express what I can’t say with words. I write. To express what I can say. I go dancing. To feel free. I cycle. To escape. I work for the Green Belt Movement (for 2 more weeks). Because I like trees and this book changed my life. I live with Hanna. Cause she has stuff and I don’t…
I roam. Because I can’t seem not to.
I guess the most interesting of these to elaborate on is following the UN climate talks around. I am the UK tracker for the Adopt a Negotiator project. I just kind of fell into this last year through stuff I was doing with the UK Youth Climate Coalition and international youth climate movement. The Adopt a Negotiator project consists of young people from all over the world. We follow the UN climate talks around, following the policy and meeting with our delegations. We blog and use social media to try and make the talks understandable to the outside world. In the process we hope to open them up, make them more transparent and ultimately a two way process.
Each of the team take a very different approach to how we do this and what we write about. For me the UN is a soul destroying grey place and it is this that I try to first explain to people, and then change. I think these negotiations are really important, if we want to solve climate change they are a vital piece of the jigsaw puzzle. But when they happen in grey places and are conducted by men in grey suits is it any wonder we are not making progress. The UN is an emotional place but no one is willing to accept that or let it influence the talks. I don’t understand that. Policy is important, but when the policy people forget why they are doing it then the policy they create serves no purpose. One of the things I like to dwell on a lot is the role of art, music, dancing – the things that make life worth living – and how they can help to make the negotiations a more constructive place where we can move towards a more constructive outcome. I hope through this we can start creating the amazing and beautiful future I know is possible.
2) Does being a woman affect your work in any way?
Each day I wake up and interpret the world through female eyes.
The UN is a very male dominated world, everyone whether male of female is also working in a very white male way. Seeing it through female eyes I think gives me the opportunity to reassess this way of working and be more creative within it.
On the downside in life I often have to think about whether a situation I get into is safe because of the fact I’m a female. This pisses me off.
3) Are you a feminist?
No (insert late night flatmate debates with Hanna here!)
As women we get a shit deal in many situations, and we need to expose and end discrimination and violence against women but I don’t identify with the label and would never call myself a feminist.
For example when I read feminist books (I live with Hanna so there’s a fair few lying around) I keep getting told I should be pissed off that I don’t earn the same as men. But I question why should I value earning the same as a man? Shouldn’t we all be fighting to not be defined by what we earn, to be allowed not to care how much we earn once we have enough to keep mind body and soul together? To me forced equality is no better than inequality when it doesn’t respect what the individual soul values and desires
I’m a personist.
Every person regardless of gender has the right to value and be valued for what they want. Treated respectfully and equal to all others and not feel threatened for being that person.
4) What are your future plans?
Helping create a better, more beautiful world.
Doing it in time to get some sleep eventually
In the short term that means hitting the roaming life again, first stop UN climate talks in China then on to Mexico, hopefully incorporating some overland travel…
5) Tell us one cool thing we don’t know already:
A movement is built on people and we need them all, from those willing to lobby their MP to those willing to go to jail. But it also most importantly needs people who can help us see the new world we’re trying to build.
The role of the revolutionary artist is to make the revolution irresistible!
(With thanks to Bill McKibben and Toni Cade Bambara!)