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Hi, this is Michelle. Glaciers melting, sea levels rising, rivers parched, crop fields flooded… The climate crisis is so massive that it can feel overwhelming.

But that’s just how the powerful, who stand to gain everything from the status quo and lose from climate action, want people to feel, according to Camille Étienne. I spoke to the French campaigner about how to overcome the feeling of helplessness.

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Michelle Langrand


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Camille Étienne at the Société de Lecture, 25 January 2024. (Société de Lecture/Magali Dougados)

With her smartphone pressed to her ear, Camille Étienne paces around a tiny room in the centuries-old building in the old town of Geneva. Television network BFMTV is on the line to schedule an interview about the farmers’ protests that began to spread through France and other parts of Europe. Noticing she has company, Étienne glances over and sticks out her tongue in a sign of exhaustion.

The 25-year-old environmental activist, often referred to as the French Greta Thunberg, is in Geneva for the day to promote her book, Pour un soulèvement écologique (For an Environmental Uprising). She doesn’t usually agree to appear on the French right-leanning news broadcaster. “They talk nonsense,” she blurts out. But this time the stakes are high: farmers struggling from inflation are revolting against environmental norms they fear will add to their economic distress.

Read the full story on Geneva Solutions

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