by Vanessa Zwisele, Arianne Blais and Ophelia Wach
What does a grandmother in India think about climate change? Why is a high-school girl in Puerto Rico concerned about rising temperatures? And how does the climate crisis affect indigenous women in Chile?
A changing climate is affecting all of us, young or old, rich or poor – but in different ways. Whilst we know the facts and figures on the climate crisis, we rarely hear about its real life implications on people in their daily lives. Rural communities, women and marginalized groups are not sufficiently protected and at high risk because of climate change. Furthermore, they are already experiencing its effects: land losses, wildfires, droughts and floods .
We believe global politics is not living up to safeguarding the livelihoods of the most vulnerable. In the face of climate change, their voices are not heard enough.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were observing a major push back of the climate crisis from the global agenda. Therefore, we asked ourselves: How could we raise awareness and give urgency to climate-induced hazards at any time? This is why we founded “100 Voices – One Planet” in April 2020. In asking people around the planet to send us a 30 second video clip in which they tell us how climate change affects them, we are giving the climate crisis faces and voices from people across all ages, genders and ethnicities. What started out as a project within a civil society course has now become our long-term mission: To amplify voices from the 100 countries and regions most affected by climate change and to make their call for global, inclusive and ambitious climate action heard by politicians and citizens alike.
So far, we have contacted around two hundred people from all over the planet, established platforms on social media to share our project and most importantly, collected a fourth of the one hundred voices. However, there is much work to be done. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we are encountering numerous difficulties in establishing contacts to marginalized groups or individuals living in remote areas. Additionally, our mission forces us to go beyond our direct networks and seek local contacts to gather voices the world needs to hear.
Our greatest success is each and every video which reaches us and we get to share. We are grateful and excited about every participant and every single person providing us with their insights and supporting our efforts. With every single voice, the magnitude of the effect of the climate crisis on people’s everyday lives becomes clearer. Having our long-term goal of gathering 100 voices in mind, every participant’s contribution is what keeps us going – and we do not have any time to lose!
To learn more about how our project came into being, you can have a read of our story in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Stay up-to-date and follow our journey on social media – we are publishing some of the voices we have received so far on a weekly basis! Last but not least, if you are reading this and know somebody from one of these countries, please get in touch with us at email@example.com or @100vop on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn.
 Germanwatch (2019). Global Climate Risk Index 2020 – Who Suffers Most from Extreme Weather Events? Weather-Related Loss Events in 2018 and 1999 to 2018. Available online: https://germanwatch.org/sites/germanwatch.org/files/20-2-01e%20Global%20Climate%20Risk%20Index%202020_14.pdf, last accessed 7th November 2020.
About the authors
Vanessa Zwisele, Arianne Blais and Ophelia Wach, the founders of “100 Voices – One Planet” (in short, 100VOP), discovered their common interest in climate change, sustainability, equality and justice issues in their master’s degree “Politics and Technology” at the Technical University in Munich.
Together, they form an interdisciplinary team with a wide variety of expertise: Arianne, the partnership coordinator of 100VOP, holds an undergraduate degree in engineering and works part-time as a social media manager. Vanessa, the creative mind of the project, is an experienced social science researcher in the field of public health, the environment and data science. Last but not least, Ophelia, the project manager and marketing director at 100VOP, works as a consultant on digital innovations in international development and sustainability.
With 100 Voices – One Planet, they join efforts to collect and amplify voices from people living in some of the regions most affected by a changing climate.