A new brand of activist takes aim at the Ukraine war and the climate crisis, together.

Source: www.nytimes.com : 2022-06-20 13:58:52 : Jeffrey Gettleman

BRUSSELS — Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, had just finished a speech at a major conference on Europe.

While he lingered onstage, soaking up adulation and taking pictures with fans, little did he know that two young women in the back of the room were eying him closely.

“There are no metal barriers,” Dominika Lasota whispered. “Now’s our chance.”

She and her activist comrade, Wiktoria Jedroszkowiak, stood up fast. They clicked on a camera. They marched right up to Mr. Macron, who greeted them with a charming smile, apparently thinking all they wanted was a selfie.

But then they blasted him with questions about a controversial new pipeline in Uganda (which the French oil company Total is helping build) and the war in Ukraine.

“My point is …” Mr. Macron tried to say.

“I know what your point is,” Ms. Lasota, 20, said, cutting him off. “But we are living in a climate crisis, and you must stop it.”

Ms. Jedroszkowiak, also 20, then jumped in, saying, “You can stop the war in Ukraine by stopping buying fossil fuels from Russia.”

“Yeah,” Mr. Macron mumbled, before being broadsided by a bunch of other questions.

This is a different brand of activist — young, mostly female and mostly from Eastern Europe — who believes that the Ukraine war is a brutal manifestation of the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. They have joined two causes — antiwar activism and climate change — to take full advantage of this moment when the world’s attention is focused on Ukraine. And to make their case, they confront Europe’s leaders face-to-face.

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