Empower the youth in climate change war

President William Ruto

President William Ruto (left) and Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya (partially hidden) meet delegates at the closing ceremony of the Youth Africa Climate Change Assembly at KICC in Nairobi on September 3, 2023.

Photo credit: PCS

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, with far-reaching consequences for the planet and future generations. And young people are emerging as a driving force in the fight. Their passion, innovation and determination are inspiring change at local, national and global levels.

One of the first steps young people can take is to educate themselves about climate change – the science behind it, its causes and consequences. Then they can become advocates for climate action. Young activists like Greta Thunberg have shown that informed and passionate voices can spark global movements and hold leaders accountable.

Youth-led climate protests have gained momentum worldwide, bringing attention to the urgency of the climate crisis and demanding action from governments and corporations. By participating in or organising these events, young people send a powerful message – that they refuse to inherit a planet in peril.

Through grassroots initiatives, young people should strive to drive change in their local communities. They can plant trees, organise clean-up campaigns, and advocate for sustainable practices in schools and neighbourhoods. These efforts have immediate positive impacts and inspire others to take action.

In battling climate change, young people can also reduce their carbon footprint by making sustainable lifestyle choices. These include reducing meat consumption, using public transportation, conserving water and minimising waste, setting an example for others to follow.

Advocating for renewable energy sources is another powerful way for young people to combat climate change. They can push for local and national policies that promote the transition to clean energy. Additionally, they can invest in and support renewable energy projects.

Young innovators are developing ground-breaking solutions to address climate change. These inventions have the potential to reshape our approach to environmental conservation. Supporting these innovations can accelerate progress.

Young people can exercise political power by voting for candidates prioritising climate action. They can also engage in advocacy and lobbying to influence policies on climate change.

Young people can lead workshops, give presentations or create educational materials to raise awareness and encourage sustainable behaviours.

They can also collaborate with like-minded individuals and organisations to amplify their efforts and provide valuable resources and support. Joining youth-led climate organisations and attending conferences can help build these connections.

 It's time to empower the youth to be the change-makers our planet desperately needs.

Jason Ogato Tinega, a procurement assistant officer at The Centre for The Study of Adolescence.