It took 20 minutes for police officers to unglue Farhana Yamin.
Ms. Yamin was one of the protesters who occupied the streets of central London in April to call on the British authorities to take action against climate change. Ms. Yamin had spent most of her life working at the top levels of the system, unlike other protesters who had always been against it.
She said that her life and work is a dance between an inside and outside person.
She has been an Insider for more than 30 years. Ms. Yamin is an environmental lawyer who works on behalf of developing countries and small island nations at the international level.
She was a key architect of the Paris climate agreement and was a leading author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The goal of net-zero emissions by midcentury is a central element of the pact and Ms. Yamin is widely seen as responsible for securing it.
She said her faith in institutions began to erode as Donald J. Trump rose to power in the United States and other countries continually delayed strong action on climate change.
Ms. Yasmin said that she was naive about what she could achieve.
The journey began when Ms. Yamin was in her 20s. As a child, Ms. Yamin experienced racism in England and knew she wanted to fight injustice in her career. When she began an internship with a small environmental law firm in 1991, she knew she had found her calling.
Since then, Ms. Yamin has attended nearly every major international climate conference, but she is best known for her work at the negotiations that led to the Paris Agreement.Climate Forward There’s an ongoing crisis — and tons of news. Our newsletter keeps you up to date.
She spent years working with academics, civil society groups and lawyers to make net-zero emissions, the idea of using reductions, carbon capture and carbon offsets to ensure that no additional greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere.
Things took a turn for the worse just months after Ms. Yamin achieved one of the biggest victories of her career. Britain voted to leave the European Union and Donald J. Trump threatened to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement if he were elected.
The international framework for human rights was collapsing around me.
Ms. Yamin was sad when she watched Mr. Trump win the election. She felt that her 30-year career as a government lawyer and climate negotiator had done nothing.
She said that she couldn't tell her clients that we would fix it.
The anti-apartheid campaign and the suffragist movement were two movements that used social Mobilization and Nonviolent Resistance to advance their causes.
It was this idea that helped Ms. Yamin get back to work. Ms. Yamin joined the Extinction Rebellion movement because she wanted to use civil disobedience to fight climate change.
Ms. Yamin became the leader of the political team of the Extinction Rebellion because of her knowledge of the diplomatic terrain to help the movement be more strategic in its activism and get more funding. Ms. Yamin felt that she was relying too much on her intellectual skills instead of putting her body on the line. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was released in October of last year. She saw pictures of people waiting to be arrested and thought, "I want to be with them."
Ms. Yamin worked for two years with Extinction Rebellion, organizing and protesting. She left her role with the group in 2020 because of disagreements with other leaders. The movement was not focused on climate justice according to Ms. Yamin.
Ms. Yamin has been moving in a different direction, one that doesn't depend on institutions or activist groups.
Ms. Yamin was eager to defend the legacy of Paris at the latest United Nations climate summit, held last year in Glasgow. Ms. Yamin focused on movement-building and listening to vulnerable people who spoke outside the conference center.
She said she left Glasgow devastated by both the outcome of the conference and the stories she heard from marginalized communities. She said that they keep pushing the deadlines out.
Ms. Yamin wants to work with frontline communities of color in Britain and the cultural sector to become more involved in climate issues.
We need the cultural sector and the creatives to help us imagine our way out of the crisis. She wants to educate philanthropic organizations about climate justice so they can give more money to frontline communities. She wants to make sure everyone is fighting the climate crisis.
She paused when asked how she felt looking back at her career.
She said that she is much more honest now.