Climate emergency is upon us and cannot be called a “hoax” anymore. The elders have passed most of their lives, thus it is the youth and the children, who will have to pay for these communal actions. The climate is warming as if expressing its rage in a revengeful manner.
An average United States citizen emits 20 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. In the coming years, Washington D.C. is going to be hit by more frequent heatwaves as a result of increasing temperature. The climate scientists have warned the residents that by 2080 the District could have much warmer temperatures, intense heavy rain events, higher tides, and dangerously prolonged hot days.
Youth participation in driving climate action is now more important than ever before. It is for this reason that, We need to declared 2021 as an year of 'Youth Engagement for Global Action'.
The youth needs to ascend against this potential apocalypse. Below are mentioned a few ways for ensuring active participation of the District's youth in driving climate action:
Awareness and Sensitization
The science of climate change needs to be rooted in curriculum and media communications. It's important to disseminate information on causes and impacts of climate change to ensure that youth groups at all levels take the matter seriously.
Capacity building and trainings
In order to ensure youth's participation in building climate-resilience, this young group needs to be trained on skill-sets involving dialogues, research, and policy formulation. Youth groups should be aware of national and international processes which address climate change impacts. One way of doing this is to arrange a mock Conference of Parties (COP) at school or District level.
Encourage participation in mass mobilization movements
Just like how global teen activist Greta Thunberg is leading the way for climate strikes, the youth groups can be encouraged to attend protests and arrange marches. Such movements help youth groups raise their concerns and make their voices heard.
Supportive role of civil societies
Civil societies and community-based organizations must provide a platform to young people to participate in climate action projects. By joining hands with such societies, the youth groups can rally for climate justice, advocate for the rights of marginalized groups, and organize symbolic activities such as climate marathon, cycling, or plantation.
Encourage the leaders of today to lead the change
Conservation organizations must step forward to create separate funding opportunities which integrate youth engagement and development deliverables. This would enable young people to initiate their own projects which could eventually address the environmental issues prevalent in their societies.
Our planet needs us. We need to start early, and start NOW!