The health of the planet, these stunning images show how important mangroves are to the health of the planet. Young people are more aware of the climate crisis than older generations, and more involved in responding to it. When it comes to deciding on the climate, young people often have nowhere to sit at the table (the health of the planet). Governments must harness the skills and energy of young people to respond effectively.
From organizing global climate strikes to planting more than 5,000 trees in Abuja during the pandemic, young people are finding ways to play a role in responding to the climate crisis. However, when it comes to decision making, they often find that they have no seat at the table.
The health of the planet
When youth groups meet in Glasgow at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COY16 Youth Conference in Glasgow, they will present the Global Youth Manifesto, the official youth document from meetings and talks during the COP. There has never been a better time for governments around the world to listen and act on what young people have to say.
Young people know, as the United Nations has found, that they will bear the brunt of the climate crisis. In Nigeria, 76 percent of young people between the ages of 16 and 25 believe that people have failed to take care of the earth, which has led to human-induced climate change.
More than 77 percent of people aged 17-19 in Japan are at risk of global warming. In the United States, a 2018 survey found that 51% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 agreed that climate change could have devastating effects on their lives. In contrast, only 29 percent of those 55 or older agreed with this claim.
Environment and health of the planet
Despite their preoccupation with the issue, young people are marginalized in the decision-making. The South African Institute of International Affairs’ white paper found that engaging young people in climate matters is still considered an idea, and young people are seen as beneficiaries rather than stakeholders. Here are three ways governments can act to engage young people in their response to the climate crisis.
Engage and harness their skills
As countries strive to achieve their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) goals, they must harness the skills and experience of young people. There is data to suggest that young people are taking initiatives to address climate change, from volunteering with organizations to donating to environmental initiatives. They should be encouraged to actively contribute to the current climate action framework and help build a greener future.
Invest in youth-led solutions
Young people develop products and services and campaign for a greener world. For example, Rafael Alonso is building “Caltivo” – a startup that opens the doors for investments to restore nature. Jennifer Ochendo leads SustyVibes, a social enterprise that makes sustainability actionable for young Africans. There are many innovative, reliable and scalable solutions that need support.
Health of the planet survey
Governments, businesses, and investors should support youth-led solutions to climate change through grants, venture capital, debt financing, or in-kind support. This is why events like the Youth Climate Action Challenge, organized by the Global Shaper Community and Climate Reality Project, are so important. They will help young people develop and promote innovative solutions and scale up climate action.
Let the youth sit at the table
According to the United Nations, there are an estimated 3.7 billion people under the age of 30, representing 48 percent of the estimated 2021 world population. For climate decision-making to be inclusive and inclusive, young people should not be considered participants.
As governments create and review NDCs and develop policies that have climate-related impacts at the national and global levels, young people should be represented and included in the process.
Effective climate action must be inclusive, allowing everyone to contribute their share. Young people will play an important role in the coming decades, it is important for governments, businesses and leaders to support and encourage them to actively participate in the global fight against climate change.