“For me, hope is the feeling that keeps you going, even though all odds may be against you. For me hope comes from action not just words.” Greta Thunberg, World Economic Forum 2021.
Greta Thunberg, 18 year-old climate and environmental activist, addressed the World Economic Forum on January 25, 2021 with a call for action to address the climate and ecological crisis. She reminded the world to not let future generations down and urged for policies that address the scale of the climate crisis. Greta is not alone. Young people from around the world have mobilized to demand greater action from leaders. Youth are using their voices to address today’s largest challenges—from COVID-19 to climate change—and demand transformational change through collective action.
Young people not only possess passion and ambition, but they offer diverse perspectives to drive solutions and can lead the paradigm shift necessary to tackle climate change. From organizing climate strikes and demanding policies that protect the environment to founding non-profits and educating their community on climate change, youth are not just talking the talk. Climate change activists are fighting for their future and the future of generations by taking action for people, planet, and prosperity.
To pave a path towards a sustainable future, it takes international collaboration and innovation across all key stakeholders, including youth. The power in action drives hope, as Greta mentioned, and can unite people around the world to come together for a shared cause.
Need more inspiration? Below are some youth voices from our community, including resources and opportunities to get involved.
Analí Bustos is a Restoration Steward working on forest restoration, revaluation and conservation of the Espinal forest in the province of Córdoba, Argentina. “Over the last decade we are witnessing how human actions are impacting nature. I believe we all have a big responsibility and people can contribute with new ideas and change,” said Analí. She finds nature as a source of inspiration and describes her mission to work for nature’s health, which is also human health, and inspires other people to do so.
Aashraya Seth was selected as one of the Climate Ambassadors 2021 by the Global Youth Climate Network, he is working across fields to address quality education, menstrual hygiene management, gender equality, and environment sustainability. “Youth have a critical role to play in combating climate change, from taking individual initiatives towards sustainable living, to advocating for the sustainable use of resources....and much more,” said Aashraya. He is also a founder of Professor G.D. Agrawal Centre for Scientific Development and Environment Advocacy, a non-profit project designed to inspire learners to co-develop evidence-based, innovative projects addressing local environmental sustainability challenges.
Adamu Saleh is a Community Volunteer for the Helpers Social Development Foundation, a non-profit organization working to help their community in the Borno State, Nigeria achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating,“said Adamu. In his work, he empowers and trains youth and women on the implications of climate change.
The USAID-funded YouthPower.org website promotes a shared understanding of positive youth development to empower young people to reach their full potential. Learn more about their Communities of Practice and global network of young changemakers at YouthLead, which houses a cross-sectoral Learning Hub with resources related to the environment and climate change. Find select climate resources below, under “Resources.”
Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is part of the U. S. Department of State’s efforts to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The YALI Network is an online extension of YALI that provides members a vast network to collaborate with young leaders across Africa and learn from experts in their field. YALI Network members address climate change through initiatives like the YALIGoesGreen for Climate and Energy.
Restoration Stewards was launched under Generation Restoration, the Youth in Landscapes Initiative, and the Global Landscapes Forum to support and highlight the work of six young restoration practitioners and their team. The year-long program provides funding, mentorship, and training to participants.
Global Youth Climate Network is an initiative of the World Bank Youth (Y2Y) Community. Their Climate Ambassadors program is a new Y2Y initiative that aims to act as a catalyst for youth, both at the Bank and throughout the world, to work together to develop and implement initiatives that raise awareness and mitigate climate change.
Connect4Climate is a global partnership program that takes on climate change by supporting ambitious leadership, promoting transformative solutions and empowering collective action. Its Youth4Climate initiative amplifies the work of young climate leaders that are driving ambitious action.
Making Cents International uses market-based approaches to promote economic opportunities for people in the developing world, including their demand-driven Youth Economic Opportunities Network (YEO Network). One of their practice areas looks at integrating climate-smart approaches to achieve sustainable behavior change and increase farmers’ resilience.
The Climate Change: Starter Kit contains the top resources on the YouthLead website related to youth combating climate change. This is a starting point for youth interested in learning about the climate crisis and how to take action.
During the Youth for Climate Adaptation Conference on January 22, 2021, in Groningen, Netherlands, youth around the world met virtually to work on their contributions for the Climate Adaptation Summit. Visit Youth for Climate Adaptation to learn more about climate adaptation and opportunities to take action.
Webinar: Beyond Alarm Bell Ringing: How Young People Can Lead Climate Change Action is a skill-building webinar that provides awareness on climate change and applicable skills to better equip young leaders and changemakers to take action.
YALIGoesGreen for Climate and Energy discusses the many challenges and innovations around energy and its impact on the environment. YALIGoesGreen offers two courses about climate change and renewable energy options.
Energizing entrepreneurs to tackle climate change is a policy brief produced by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate on how guiding entrepreneurship can provide governments with local talent by providing all, including youth, with opportunities to build livelihoods and contribute to the global response to climate change.
UpLink is a free and open digital platform designed to foster participation from entrepreneurs, activists, community groups, and NGOs around the world to meet the SDGs. Young climate leaders can engage with this open source information.
Isabela Barriga serves as the social media manager, content entry and work flow coordinator for Climatelinks. She assists with knowledge management, research, and writing blogs. Previously, Isabela provided communication and content management support to organizations such as the United Nations Volunteers programme in Ecuador and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in Washington, DC. Isabela holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of Maryland, College Park and a minor in International Development & Conflict Management.