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March 17, 2017

Hello SCI Activists,

Spring is just around the corner in the Northern hemisphere (although it arrived surprisingly early in many regions, partially due to climate change). We’ll be celebrating its first day by re-launching GAIA MicroGrants. Remember applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so the earlier you apply, the bigger the chance of getting a grant.

But apart from GAIA MicroGrants there is also GAIA Kosovo, who is hosting a “Tour of Freedom” camp this summer and it is labelled as a Climate for Peace camp. 

We'll also dive in into the concept of hard-nosed optimism (the only kind of optimism that seems appropriate nowadays) and the need for a climate justice perspective in efforts to protect human rights. Read on!

A Hard-Nosed Optimism


Last week we mentioned how some people look forward to “the end of the world” as the best way out of the trouble in which humanity found itself. But there is also another side of the story - optimism.

Does optimism have a place in the world where refugees can’t expect to find a safe haven in wealthy countries? Or where we, humans, actually managed to trigger the sixth mass extinction of other animal species? Inequalities are on the rise, natural resources are diminishing and the doomsday clock is the closest to midnight since decades.

So how come we, as SCI activist, don’t lose hope and still struggle for a culture of peace? The sober judgement and efforts that arise from it can be described as “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will” and they need to be followed by building enduring communities with people conscious of their core values. “A Hard-Nosed Optimism” | Post Carbon Institute

Why climate change is a threat to human rights


Many of those who are suffering disproportionately from climate change impacts don’t drive cars, don’t have electricity, don’t consume very significantly. Yet they are feeling more and more the impacts of the changes that prevent them from growing food properly and knowing how to look after their future, points out Mary Robinson in her TED Talk (21:42 min, subtitles available in multiple languages).

This injustice struck the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who didn’t even have to face these challenges during her term in office. Only recently climate change impacts are becoming more apparent and more dangerous. “As the same time we are not on course for the safe world”, believes Robinson. We face an existential threat to our future.

We need to go to zero CO2 emissions, which means a complete transformation of our civilization. This poses challenges to improving living conditions, especially in the Global South. “But that change is happening and it’s happening very fast”, says Robinson. “Why climate change is a threat to human rights”, Mary Robinson | TED Talk

Climate for Peace workcamp: Tour of Freedom (GAIA Kosovo)


GAIA, branch of SCI in Kosovo, is a peace organization working in a field of understanding and solidarity between people, social justice and respect of environment. GAIA is also promoting cultural diversity and works on education and integration of marginalized and minority groups in society.

Tour of Freedom is a travelling workcamp, connecting diverse communities in Kosovo through a bike tour. Starting from Mitrovica in the North, the tour will cross the whole country until finally arriving in Brezovica, in the South. Staying in each community for 3 to 4 days, participants will initiate activities to bring people from different backgrounds together, make them share and learn together about environmental and human rights issues and collect local stories. Read more>>>

GAIA MicroGrants accepting applications from March 21st (this Tuesday!)

Already next week SCI activists will be able to apply for seed funding from GAIA MicroGrants again. Application and evaluation are very simple and you can always ask the programme team for support (at microgrants@sci.ngo).

You can find necessary information and documents at SCI’s web page, but take a look at the infographic below first.

GAIA MicroGrants


Co-Funded by the Erasmus plus programme of the European Union.


The Association of Service Civil International ivzw receives support from the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.



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