In 2021, Benjamin Van Bunderen Robberechts attended a youth summer camp in the Ardennes, a few hours’ drive from his home in Brussels. There he met a Danish girl, Rosa, and they immediately became friends.
These sunny days at the camp among new friends were, however, short-lived. Heavy rain fell on the third day, quickly turning in a massive flood, the intensity of which is attributable to climate change. The flood took Rosa’s life.
“I was traumatised for several months and simply couldn’t function. At one point, I asked myself what Rosa would have done in my shoes. So I came up with the idea of creating a movement for justice for climate victims,” Benjamin explains.
Climate struggle results in European day of remembrance
Benjamin has devoted his life to telling Rosa’s story and to getting politicians around the world to take climate change seriously. All the work that Benjamin has put into #ClimateJusticeForRosa has raised awareness even up to the highest level of the European political system.
Earlier this year, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager put forward a proposal to the European Parliament to make 15 July each year a European day of remembrance for all the victims of the global climate crisis. The proposal was signed on 13 July 2023 by the Vice-President of the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans and is now an official day of remembrance.
I was traumatised for several months and simply couldn’t function. At one point, I asked myself what Rosa would have done in my shoes. So I came up with the idea of creating a movement for justice for climate victims.
Extreme weather will become more frequent in line with global warming
Although the day of remembrance doesn’t bring anyone back, it can hopefully help to make people aware that we have to fight back against the climate crisis. The storm that hit several European countries in 2021 took more than 200 lives.
Climate researchers have established that flooding will only get worse in line with climate change.
Events at COP28
As part of young people’s takeover of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Nordic Talks branding concept for COP28, the two Danish youth delegates Marcus Taulborg and Lise Coermann Nygaard invited Benjamin Van Bunderen Robberechts to talk about his initiative “Climate Justice for Rosa” and about the importance of supporting those hardest hit by climate change.
“We want to raise awareness of how climate change affects different societies and individuals in different ways, and to create awareness about the need for justice in relation to these issues,” say the two Danish youth delegates Marcus Taulborg and Lise Coermann Nygaard.