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Fernanda Barros, Fridays for Future Amazonia
Fernanda Barros, Fridays for Future Amazonia

Press release -

Fridays for Future Amazonia is the second finalist to be introduced for the Children’s Climate Prize 2021

Co-Founded by 16-year-old Fernanda Barros, Fridays for Future Amazonia is a group of young climate activists fighting for climate and social justice in the Brazilian region of Amazonia. In a country with a powerful agricultural lobby and a president who threatens the rights of the indigenous people to land and advocates for the deforestation of the rainforest, Fridays for Future Amazonia is playing a high-stakes game that has never been more important and urgent than right now.

“There will not be one square centimeter left delimited to the indigenous people,” Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has declared. He has also threatened with scrapping the Ministry of the Environment, discarding international environmental organizations such as Greenpeace and WWF, and halting all government support to national environmental organisations. Against this backdrop, 16-year-old Fernanda Barros started Fridays for Future Amazonia, a branch and extension of the global youth organization with the same name.

– I am one of the five finalists of the Children’s Climate Prize… and it’s shocking! But much more than shocking, it’s a reason to be proud, because I see it as a recognition of Fridays for Future Amazonia and all its activists who are fighting to change our reality, says Fernanda.

Despite the threats and the major risks that this currently entails to advocate for climate justice and democracy in Brazil, Fernanda has battled on. The Amazon rainforest is one of the key elements in the fight against climate change, yet the people in Amazonas are rarely or never given space to express themselves in the public debate. This is what Fernanda Barros is fighting for, as she actively works to strengthen knowledge among young people in the area and to make their voices heard. Fridays for Future Amazonia also enables young activists to talk to thousands of like-minded people around the world, communicate their message and empower themselves.

– Winning this prize would mean a victory for all amazonian youth, and for all the Fridays for Future Amazonia’s team who are always fighting for our community and our rights without giving up. Yes, we are amazonian children, and yes, we have the capacity, we have the facts, we have the science, we have team effort and we won’t stop!, says Fernanda.

Fernanda also co-founded the SOS Amazonia Relief Fund, which fights COVID-19 and supports the healthcare system in Manaus, resulting in thousands of people in the indigenous population getting help and support during the pandemic. When the pandemic is over, Fridays for Future Amazonia wants to mobilize thousands of people on the streets to demand climate and social justice. The group also intends to support youth activists in their studies and start up groups at universities. Fernanda’s goal is for Fridays For Future Amazonia to reach an audience of one million, which would definitely give a boost to young activists from the Amazon rainforest.

About Fridays For Future
Fridays For Future is a global movement started by Greta Thunberg in 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden. Every Friday, students strike in more than 100 countries, on all continents. Their message is clear, they demand a future. They demand that politicians take responsibility, listen to science and stop the environmental destruction they have closed their eyes to for over the past 40 years.

Fridays For Future/SOS Amazonia – A megaphone for climate and social justice in Amazonas
Fernanda Barros, 16 years old from Bélém, Pará, Brazil

The jury's motivation:
With a president and a leadership that actively counteracts what she is fighting for, Fernanda demonstrates courage, strong commitment and perseverance above and beyond the ordinary. It’s not easy to work against a headwind and the jury sees a strong-willed individual who fights for fairness under difficult circumstances that the pandemic has made even more difficult. By increasing and strengthening young people’s awareness and knowledge, Fernanda succeeds in making more voices heard and thus empowers both society and individuals. The states of Amazonas, the rainforest and Brazil are topical issues in the climate debate and affect all of us. Fernanda’s work in this area is therefore not only important locally, but also globally.

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The Children’s Climate Prize is an international prize annually awarded to young people who have made extraordinary efforts for the climate and environment. The award and financial support are managed by the Children’s Climate Foundation, which was initiated by the award’s founder Telge Energi. Based on Telge Energi’s belief in young people’s ability to drive change in the world, the award is now a part of their ongoing work for sustainable development and production of renewable energy in Sweden. The winners of the prize are celebrated at an award ceremony in November each year and receive a diploma, medal and prize money of SEK 100,000 to continue developing their projects.

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Amanda Bjursten

Amanda Bjursten

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