Nicki Becker is an activist, she is only 22 years old and is an environmental communicator, and Co-Founder of “Jóvenes por el clima” in Argentina: “We have to understand that solving the climate crisis is done collectively, and if we have the privilege, we have to rethink our lifestyle, such as our food diet,” she says.
Nicki was born in Argentina and lives in Buenos Aires, in 2019, out of curiosity and a mixture of frustration, she became interested in environmental activism. “That curiosity to look for information was awakened in me, and I began to realize that in Europe there were people my age who had information that I did not have about the environmental crisis,” confessed, and assured that after passing the anger, she set out to generate a collective action.
We know you are a fantastic activist, but tell us your story and how you got into youth activism?
I used to participate in a Jewish youth movement where I had activities every Saturday, and they were non-formal education activities on different social and general topics. Later I was the group’s coordinator and led many activities of reflection and introspection, but so far, nothing to do with environmental issues. I did feel involved with social issues regarding feminism and gender equality because it touched me closely, I went to the marches, etc. I was always very restless and liked to work on various projects, I was also involved in solidarity projects at my school.
And how did you end up in environmental activism?
Only in February 2019 did I come across a video by Greta Thunberg, calling for the first international climate march in Europe. That is when I started to question why I did not know anything about climate change if I felt so involved with social issues. I began to read, and I realized that people my age in Europe could have this information and in Argentina we could not. I started to be flooded with a feeling of anger. I joined to call the first march in Buenos Aires, we were 18 years old at the time, and that is how we created Youth for Climate. In that first mobilization, more than 5000 people came, it was crazy, when I went on stage because I had to speak, I could see how many people there were, and I felt incredible.
What other actions do you carry out besides the marches?
Today, in Youth for Climate, apart from working on social pressure in the streets, we also perform a lot from the beginning of political advocacy. We met with different deputies and senators to demand they start legislating on the climate crisis. We achieved several things during these four years, such as the Climate Change Law, the Environmental Education Law, and the Yolanda Law. All this was part of that advocacy work, and then we worked a lot in education and giving workshops in different schools. Now I am working and launching a project called “School of Environmental Educators” to teach high school children, in a 3-month course, about the climate crisis and they can also give workshops in their schools. We also work a lot on communication, and to communicate the climate crisis in an accessible and daily way to understand how it affects our quality of life. We share in channels such as social networks, content in Spanish about climate change because sometimes it is challenging to find it.
Being part of Youth for Climate Argentina and the Fridays for Future movement is fantastic. What inspired you to join this movement and become an environmental advocate? Tell us your story.
From the beginning, “Jóvenes por el Clima” was born as one of the local chapters of the Fridays for Future movement led by Greta Thunberg at the international level. However, our name is “Jóvenes por el Clima” because it did not make sense to put a name in English where most people do not speak English, and skipping school every Friday, when access to education is a privilege in Latin America, did not make sense as a demand strategy either. So, we call ourselves Youth for Climate, we are part of this international movement in every country and there have been marches of more than a million people. I have had the opportunity to work with people from many countries and we did international campaigns.
Many young people sometimes feel overwhelmed by the idea of making a difference in the world. What advice would you give those who want to get involved, but need help knowing where to start?
My first piece of advice is to get started, there are a lot of fears one has about getting started. The best thing to do is to realize along the way your challenges, how to improve, redefine your course, etc. The most difficult thing is not to start; it is to stay, to give continuity, and to create something that transcends. Joining with people who are on the same page helps, make an excellent work team, getting together with other people, can have more impact, can be more fun, and it is nice to be able to share it. The most beautiful thing about militancy and activism is the people you meet and the feeling that you are not alone.
Youth is a powerful engine for change. How do you think young people can influence the fight against climate change and positively impact their environment?
Young people have a super significant impact on the fight against climate change. We managed to change the narrative of what is happening in climate change and make people understand that it is something we are already living in today, affecting the most vulnerable sectors. Talking about the climate crisis means understanding that it affects us all, and not equally. This narrative change was essential to place it more on the social, cultural, political, and media agenda.
Besides your work fighting climate change, are there any other social issues you are passionate about or think deserve attention and action by young people?
Yes, of course. Feminism attracts me and is part of my identity; feminism formed me and helped me see through other lenses what is happening in the world and understand what is happening in the climate crisis. It also helped me to build my identity. I do not believe in leadership as we used to associate it with men, who talk a lot and are the only ones who have the word. It is something more collective to make others shine too, and feminism made me rethink a lot.
What would that call be if you could call all the people in the world to take concrete measures to protect our planet?
The first thing is to get informed. Once we have the information, any action takes care of itself. Share knowledge and think about how to consume less energy or use it when necessary. Understand that solving the climate crisis is done collectively, not just thinking about individual actions.
Yolanda Law in Argentina:
Law 27,592, or Yolanda Law, guarantees comprehensive environmental training for people working in public service with a sustainable development perspective and emphasis on climate change. It was sanctioned on November 17, 2020.
Climate Change Law in Argentina:
Law No. 27520 – Law on minimum budgets for adaptation and mitigation to global climate change. This law establishes the minimum budgets for environmental protection to guarantee adequate actions, instruments, and strategies for adaptation and mitigation of climate change throughout the national territory.
Environmental Education Law in Argentina:
The Comprehensive Environmental Education Law, enacted on June 1, 2021, is a federal public policy promoted by all provinces to promote environmental awareness and responsibility in decision-making and reach all formal, non-formal, and informal education settings.
Who is Nicki?
Full name: Nicole Becker
Organization: “Jóvenes por el clima”
Profession: Environmental activist and communicator
Lives in: Buenos Aires
Pets: Ringo, a little dog.
Favorite food: Anything with pumpkin and mango.
Favorite sport: Soccer.
Hobbies: Play soccer with friends.
Favorite clothing item: Dressing in pink.
Favorite place: Any lovely beach.
One word to describe yourself: kind, passionate, persevering, and empathetic.
Favorite singer or band: C Tangana.
The most crucial moment of the day: Sunset.
Your grounding activity: playing soccer,
What is your contribution to a better world: Everything I do with young people for the climate, activism, and the environmental struggle.
Who do you admire? Fellow youth climate activists and Messi.
What you value most in people: They are good people.
Day or night? Day.
Hot or cold shower? Hot.