September 16, 2019
The world’s youth is arguably most at risk of the consequences of climate change, but they aren’t taking it lying down. Youth climate activism is on the rise, and the diverse benefits are being realised all over the world.
The #FridaysForFuture movement, led by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg, successfully mobilised a global class walkout of over 1 million students from an estimated 128 countries in March this year to protest against the lack of climate action. Thunberg’s movement initially began as a solo expedition in August 2018, striking from school every Friday to sit outside the Swedish parliament. A year on, another global climate strike is planned for 20 September and, with less than a week to go, events have already been registered in over 115 countries.
So, with young people becoming increasingly involved in climate activism around the world we thought we would take a look at some of the benefits of doing so.
When young people all around the world unite for a common cause it promotes inclusivity by involving people from all walks of life. As a young woman with Asperger’s, Thunberg sets an inspiring example for all of us while sending a clear message about the underestimated capability of young people.
Involvement in activism has also been found to enhance wellbeing of adolescents by improving confidence, resilience, leadership and teamwork skills. Additionally, it gives young people the opportunity to be involved in something bigger than themselves, and have their voices heard. As acknowledged by the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, “Empowered, [young people] can be key agents for development and peace”.
As the threat of the climate crisis looms closer we are seeing more people experiencing ‘climate despair’, or feelings of stress and disempowerment related to climate change. Activism is a fantastic tool for coping with such feelings and addressing these concerns as it allows us to take action when we feel it is needed most.
This movement, powered by young people, is having quite an impact on older generations. Organisers of the student climate strike now encourage all demographics to participate, and companies like Atlassian are even encouraging staff to attend.
In the leadup to this week’s climate strike remember that, regardless of how ‘green’ you consider yourself, the climate crisis affects us all, and the only way we can tackle it is together.
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.
Kate joined Planet Ark in mid-2019 as an intern from the University of New South Wales where she studies International Studies and Media. With a passion for environmental issues and sustainability, Kate hopes to promote positive and collective environmental action.