Ia Aanstoot, an 18-year-old Swedish climate activist, is gaining a lot of online attention with her “Dear Greenpeace” campaign, asking the global environmental organization to drop its “old-fashioned and unscientific opposition to nuclear power, and join us in the fight against fossil fuels instead!”
As reported by the Guardian, Aanstoot’s stance is that “Greenpeace is stuck in the past fighting clean, carbon-free nuclear energy while the world is literally burning. We need to be using all the tools available to address climate change, and nuclear is one of them.”
Into the fray: In July 2022, the European Parliament and European Commission moved to include nuclear power in the European Union’s “green taxonomy” classification of sustainable, climate-friendly energy sources. According to Aanstoot, that decision was a “huge win for science and a massive bit of good news for me and my generation.”
This spring, however, Greenpeace announced its intention to sue the EC in response to the taxonomy change. Aanstoot joined the fight by starting her “Dear Greenpeace” campaign, which is being assisted by the European environmental organization RePlanet and the Amsterdam-based law firm Houthoff. The campaign has filed legal papers with the EU Court of Justice asking to be accepted as an “interested party” in the Greenpeace case. If the court approves the request, Aanstoot and pronuclear climate scientists will be allowed to provide testimony in the case in support of nuclear power as a clean energy source.
Aanstoot called Greenpeace’s lawsuit “a punch in the stomach” to her and her fellow climate activists. “Unlike some of the people that run Greenpeace, it’s my generation that will have to live with the consequences of climate change,” she said. “In my experience, young people tend to be open minded to all solutions, including nuclear. It’s an emergency after all!”
Not her first rodeo: Aanstoot has been inspired by many on her road to environmental activism, including Greenpeace itself. She explained on her campaign website, “I love Greenpeace. I respect them. I’m inspired by them and I don’t want to see them become totally irrelevant. But sometimes you have to stand up to the people you love.”
Aanstoot began protesting in front of her local city hall, “following in the footsteps of Greta [Thunberg],” when she was just 13. She embraced nuclear as a solution when she was 16, describing the “hope and realism of the pronuclear environmental movement” as a “life-changing experience.”
Last December, as Nuclear Newswire reported, Aanstoot made her way to Egypt on her own to attend COP27 as a delegate under the banner of Nuclear for Climate. In the conferences’ final hours, she noticed a glaring omission from the energy section of the final conference statement draft—nuclear. She fired off a group text that quickly traveled up the chain and into the hands of the Department of Energy’s Kathryn Huff. Because of Aanstoot’s quick action, the language in the final statement was changed to be technology inclusive, calling for an “increase in low-emission and renewable energy” as part of “diversifying energy mixes and systems.”
Be a climate hero: Aanstoot and her fellow activists describe nuclear as “the missing link between a sustainable future for the planet, and a sustainable future for humanity.” To spread the word, the “Dear Greenpeace” campaign is hosting a webinar on Thursday, September 7, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. (EDT). The program will feature “leading environmentalists and nuclear energy experts” speaking on the necessity of nuclear as part of a clean energy portfolio. The campaigners will also share their motivations for challenging Greenpeace to “do better” and drop their opposition to nuclear. Registration for the webinar is free.
The campaign is also seeking donations to fund its legal activities and is asking for signatures to a petition calling on Greenpeace to stop opposing nuclear power and refocus the battle—and their resources—on the fight against fossil fuels. Details and disclosures are available at replanet.ngo/deargreenpeacepetition.