Dunja  |  She/Her


Belgrade, Serbia
Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub

Session 4: January 30, 2023

Stefan sits, staring at the distance. 

(This is a metaphor. There is no real distance: the line of sight stretches only a few meters beyond the window. The smog covers everything. Through the dark and heavy haze, it is difficult to glimpse human figures.)

Today we were informed that 200,000 new climate refugees had arrived in our city. That means 200,000 new masks: protection not just from the virus, but from the air itself. If they think our city is a good place to live, I wonder what they left behind. 

Stefan’s voice interrupts my writing: “Dunja, do you remember COP27?”

His voice reaches me. It’s no longer the deep and masculine voice that it once was. It’s heavy, weak, shaky, as if he’s struggling for air.

Of course I remember, but I choose to stay quiet. The silence is telling, self-punishing. How could I not remember gorgeous Egypt? The seven colors of the sea, overflowing and playing in the sun. Nature, begging to be set free. An environmental activist, convinced that we could stop the dying clock of nature. 

What did we get wrong, I sometimes wonder. Tick Tock. Tick—year. Tick—year.

“No Stefan, honey, COP27 never happened. It was just a dream.”

Dunja is a Serbian youth climate activist. She was a Serbian representative to Pre-COP26 and UNICEF COP27 delegate. As a UN Serbia Youth Advisory Group Member, she works on youth engagement in climate action. Currently, she is serving as a Vice Lead Coordinator for YES Serbia network.