Zamzam Ibrahim

Representing SOS-International at Festival Terra Lenta


Zamzam Ibrahim, SOS-International Director, reflects on her time speaking at Festival Terra Lenta on climate justice.

On the 23rd of September, I had the privilege of participating in the Terra Lenta Festival on behalf of SOS International in Cecina, Italy. This inter-generational conference was a platform that delved into three critical sustainability themes: Economy, Society, and Environment. During my time at the festival, I had the honour of speaking on two enlightening panels, one centred around the theme of ‘Economy’ and the other exploring ‘Society.’

In the economy panel, I took the opportunity to shed light on a pressing issue that has been looming over our current economic model – its foundation on perpetual growth, a concept that is simply unsustainable on a finite planet. The statistics tell a compelling story, illustrating the strain our resources and ecosystems are under due to this relentless pursuit of growth.

The discussions on creating economic systems that truly serve people rather than corporations inevitably led us to the thought-provoking debate of individualism versus collectivism. It’s a pivotal point in our quest for economic transformation – understanding what this means for us as individual consumers and how we can collectively shape a sustainable economic future.

During the panel discussion, Lorenzo, an esteemed academic, shared valuable recommendations with the audience. In response to a question about the role of universities in nurturing progressive ideas and critical thinking among students, he suggested reading “Antifragile – Nassim Nicholas Taleb” and “Net Zero – Dieter Helm” This ignited a spark of curiosity among the attendees, highlighting the power of equipping ourselves with the knowledge we need to think of alternatives.

The overarching message that resonated deeply with the young minds at the conference was the call to action. Regardless of the form it takes, whether through grassroots activism, policy advocacy, or innovative entrepreneurship, it was clear that the time for action is now. The young generation understands the urgency of questioning the status quo and challenging the existing systems that perpetuate unsustainable practices.

Moving on to the ‘Society’ panel, I delved into the concept of justice and its practical implications in our work. The stark disparities between the global north and the global south are all too apparent. The issues of social and economic inequality are systemic and deeply rooted in our world.

The idea of intersectionality often discussed but not always fully embraced, played a central role in our conversation. To truly be intersectional is to acknowledge that every individual’s experiences are multifaceted and complex. Consequently, the solutions to the challenges we face must be equally dynamic, adapting to the unique circumstances of each situation. It’s a call for proactive and reactive responses, recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Audre Lorde’s powerful words reverberated in the discussion: “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” These words remind us that the challenges we face are interconnected, interwoven threads in the tapestry of our existence. Addressing them requires a holistic approach that takes into account the complex web of social, economic, and environmental factors.

In conclusion, my participation in the Terra Lenta Festival was a remarkable experience that highlighted the urgency of re-imagining our economic systems and embracing intersectionality in our quest for justice and sustainability. It was a call to action for all attendees, young and old, to question the status quo, challenge existing paradigms, and work together to build a more equitable and sustainable future for generations to come. The festival served as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for change in these transformative times, and I hope to see some of those faces at our SOS International Summit in March!

In Solidarity,