Expert Interview with Cynthia Guyer
Updated: May 3
Interviewed by Santiago Mendes Esteves
Cynthia Guyer is the Senior Advisor at Global Dignity. She nonprofit leader with 30 + years of experience with innovative, leading-edge organizations and foundations. She is passionate about creating access to quality education and the arts, especially for children and young people living in low-income under-resourced communities, as well as youth voice, leadership and human rights.
How do you think the fight for civil rights and the support to poor, rural communities will be disrupted by Climate Change?
We can look around us for the answer! In terms of the accessibility of natural resources, countries like Bangladesh are suffering the most. Low marsh lands surrounded by the seas have a higher risk of flooding, which means subsistence fishermen have to move and lose their jobs.
This will then create a massive diaspora from rural to urban communities, where inequality and social division is already widespread. From a macro perspective, Climate Change will exacerbate inequality and overwhelm our Migration Systems that are just not adapted to the future.
We can look to the increasing migration of people from countries like El Salvador to the U.S as an example. El Salvadorian goods and local economies are being tremendously damaged by Climate Change, more specifically the irregularity of the seasons.
What do you believe is the role of children and youth activists within the ongoing fight to tackle Climate Change?
Young people are always the ones that take the most risks. They have an imaginative nature that allows them to think outside the box and step away from short term greed and profit. Martin Luther was in his early 20s when he started advocating vocaly. Protests such as MeToo were also mainly led by college students with more desire for change.
In what way do you believe the Global Educational Sector has to mobilize itself to give youth a safer and more open platform upon which to act and speak out?
Curriculums should be much more project-based. Schools should lead the path to promote diplomacy at the grassroots level so as to better equip students for a possible future in advocacy. In the 21st Century, the role of teachers is to be supportive to all sorts of issues ranging from Gender Inequality to Climate Change. Students should be sponsored and incentivised to follow and advocate for their vocations with the help of funds from mayors!
How would you describe the pattern and evolution of climate consciousness around the world?
The environmental movement was spurred 40 years ago in America due to Earth Day. People started gaining consciousness of ecological concerns around the world and began advocating for change. However, the real boom came with Greta Thunberg and her counterparts, who continue to raise awareness at a global scale.
Do you think the general public and governments are mobillising themselves enough given the ongoing rate of Climate Change?
No; the few figures that have good ideas and are willing to adapt for change are surrounded by insurmountable layers of bureaucracy. Big Corporations shy away and the general public are left with the job of raising awareness.
What advice would you give to youth attempting to engage in, or already involved with, advocacy?
You should start by doing something - anything. Look into whatever interests you and begin advocating! Anything that has a purpose and meaning counts!