Who are you?
My name is Charlotte Scheerens, a Ghent-based sociologist. Since my childhood I am concerned about global health and climate change. Currently, I am a PhD candidate on early integration of palliative care for people with COPD at the Faculty of Medicine Ghent University, where I try to improve facets of health care organisation. I am also co-coordinator of Climate Express, which wants to push our leaders towards ambitious solutions for climate change via original citizen’s mobilisations. In 2015 we mobilized for example 14 000 people to join us for the biggest climate march in Belgium so far. As the organisation’s co-leader and spokesperson I try to transcend a tensed political debate through positive mass actions, and strong collaboration with other stakeholders. I believe in the power of mass actions, and I think it is often the only way to be heard. We are using our voice to strengthen those of others. One voice is small, but many cannot be ignored. I have always been very determined to combine my interest for health and environmental topics simultaneously. As we learn more about the deleterious effects of climate change’s impact on diseases, citizens, animals and even whole countries, it has become my life mission to advocate and contribute to the global movement that is creating awareness about climate change and global health policy, and the link between these two.
Why are you part of Generation T?
As a long-term volunteer for Climate Express I have adopted a professional and a-political way to put my ideals into huge and meaningful actions. I learned to collaborate with various partners each with their own view on climate change solutions. I believe these experiences make me a good Generation T member, with a strong motivation to continue my earlier work through this membership.
Give specific example(s) on how your projects or activities make a difference and initiate change.
For me, an action needs to be positive, original, easily accessible for a large public and appealing. I want people to participate and enjoy themselves while striving for a higher purpose. With Climate Express we organised cycling events to the COP21 in Paris and the COP23 in Bonn, bringing hundreds of people together for a weeklong bike trip. During my former engagement for the student’s movement UGENT1010 I organised events on food waste, where people could taste some bites while listening to music. Currently, for EVA vzw, I teach plant-based cooking via cozy evening workshops. For Soepcafé, we cook every week a vegetarian meal from food waste. All these actions make people realize the necessity of fighting climate change while having a good time. That is for me the key to a successful action.