In March of this year, the United Nations (UN) gathered to discuss climate change and the 12-year “clock” that began counting down in 2018 in terms of irreversible human damage to the planet. Environmental Conservationist Dr. Nahmi Jones, VMD, tells Parentology, “After that time, it’s going to be much harder to keep the planet cool enough to sustain human life.”
A pervasive message throughout the conference: today’s youth could be the answer to turning this situation around.
Global Youth’s Call to Action
Of the remaining 11 years on the climate change countdown, General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés said all ages must come together to find solutions. “Climate justice is intergenerational justice,” she addressed the UN.
What was clear in Garcés directive – today’s youth are leading the charge when it comes to impacting climate change. Her challenge to world leaders: join them by making 2020 the end of carbon emissions increases resulting from human activities and consumption.
Concurring with Garcés, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, pointed out that youth are demanding actions from world leaders on behalf of future generations. “I echo that demand,” he said. “We must address this global emergency with ambition and urgency.”
Weighing in, Sheddona Richardson, youth representative of Grenada said, “The impacts of climate change are our new normal.” And to today’s young people, “Our future is in your hands, do not let the hope of the world be in vain.”
A likely reason youth were featured so prominently in the UN speeches? Jones says, “Young people are very aware of the threat of climate change and that it will impact them much more than the adults around them.”
Their voices are being heard, too. Case in point, Greta Thunberg. The 15-year-old from Sweden began protesting climate change outside the Parliament, drawing followers in her activist movement. Her actions have spurred a passion in resulted in her nomination for a Noble Peace Prize.
A Family Fight
So what about kids who want to follow in Thunberg’s footsteps? Or for that matter, families. A good start: get educated. “Learning details about climate change makes it less of a vague, unknown issue merely to be feared and cause anxiety,” Jones says.
Direct actions Jones recommends for impacting energy policy and building awareness, “Speak to policy makers and use social media.”
Community is key. “Building strong support communities allow for moving in a united fashion,” Jones says, pointing to group efforts like demonstrations and marches.
And when it comes to adults lending support, “Kids can be very creative,” Jones says of how they use their voices. “Adults need to be supportive of the thinking of youth and empower them to come up with their own actions.”
Environmental Conservationist Dr. Nahmi Jones, VMD
United Nations: Only 11 Years Left to Prevent Irreversible Damage from Climate Change, Speakers Warn during General Assembly High-Level Meeting
UN’s Climate Change page