They live in Europe and Africa. They look around and know they are the ones who will live with the impact of climate change. Young people are bombarded with messages from all sides. They have to weigh in the balance the feel-good, buy-more marketing messages and the sky-is-falling warnings. Who could blame them if they opted for the former?
More and more of them are stepping forward to challenge the status quo. They are asking hard questions and challenging older generations to address them.
Make the Link – Climate exChange is supporting them with answers and opportunities. The European Union is funding the three-year project to connect 11-19 year olds in schools and youth groups in the EU and Africa.
The site offers a lot to young people and their supporters. They can download learning resources. Individuals and groups can post comments on the blog or let others know how they are tackling climate change. Youth can sign onto the One Step campaign and pledge to take “one step” to reduce their own impact on the environment. (Watch the One Step Freerunning video below.) They can find simple ideas for taking action.
In September 2012 Tierney Smith interviewed Jessica Douthwaite, Education Officer at the project for an article on Responding to Climate Change. She said the project had already involved about 36,000 young people in more than 400 schools.
They were just launching a program to connect youth with their MPs and MEPs (Members of Parliament and Members of the European Parliament), with the intent of persuading them “to sign a declaration that will provide a platform for future youth-led action on green issues.”
These young people are already dealing with the fall-out from human inattention to climate warning signs. Preparing them to take on leadership roles is crucial. So is reminding older generations of their responsibility to be part of the solution.