Last September, 194 young people stood in the balcony at United Nations Headquarters in New York and witnessed the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. More than 7 million young people from around the globe spoke up and seized the opportunity to vote on their priorities for the Sustainable Development Goals, and they placed climate change at the top of their list.
This past November, young people from around the world attended COP 21 in Paris, witnessing a negotiation for their future — something they shouldn’t have to fight so hard for. Ultimately, the Paris Agreement was reached with a pledge to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.
The Sustainable Development Goals, the Clean Power Plan, the Paris Agreement: These hugely ambitious plans are existential leaps for the United States and the world. In order to make them happen, they require a movement of young people to lift them up and shine light on their profound importance.
This story began long before them and it will continue long after them, but today, young people have a unique chance to shape the conversation and shift the course of history.
#Youth4Climate is a campaign organized by a coalition of partners with a goal to inspire young people around the world to take action on climate change. By providing a platform for young people to be heard and by carving out space for them in places where they’ve historically been marginalized, #Youth4Climate is empowering young people to have influence in the global climate conversation.
Youth are uniquely equipped to harness their passions towards developing solutions that confront our toughest challenges. #Youth4Climate is part of a generational call to action for youth and those who support them to develop their skills, perseverance, and collaboration to help innovate new technologies and rapidly scale solutions to tackle the climate crisis.
Young people today will be most affected by climate change. The #Youth4Climate coalition recognizes that they have a place in making decisions about their own climate futures.
This week, for #EarthWeek2016, we are empowering young people around the world to engage in the High-level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the historic signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, both taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
True to our mission as a coalition, we’ve worked to ensure a young person will address the world during the opening ceremony on Thursday, April 21. Victoria Barrett, a 17-year-old Honduran-American with roots in the Garifuna Indigenous culture, was born and raised in New York. She’s a youth activist and Action Fellow with the #Youth4Climate coalition partner Alliance for Climate Education (ACE).
Spread the word on the #Youth4Climate campaign by sharing these messages across your channels!
Why does climate change education matter?
In a study published in the journal, Climatic Change, researchers evaluating our climate education program found:
- Students demonstrated a 27% increase in climate science knowledge.
- More than one-third of students (38%) became more engaged on the issue of climate change.
- The number of students who talked to parents or peers about climate change more than doubled.
Article 12 of the final Paris agreement reaffirms that the education is as mean for fighting climate change.
“Parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under this Agreement”
As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says in Article 6, education contributes to the solutions being developed to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.
“The solutions to climate change are also the paths to a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for all. To see this and to understand what needs to be done requires a sharp and sustained focus on education, training and public awareness in all countries and at all levels of government, society and enterprise.”
Key points on why climate change education matters:
- Long-term, independent records from weather stations, satellites, ocean buoys, tide gauges, and many other data sources all confirm that our nation, like the rest of the world, is warming. Scientists who study climate change confirm that these observations are consistent with significant changes in Earth’s climatic trends. (U.S. National Climate Assessment, 2014)
- Over the 21st century, climate scientists expect Earth’s temperature to continue increasing, very likely more than it did during the 20th century. Two anticipated results are rising global sea level and increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves, droughts, and floods. These changes will affect almost every aspect of human society, including economic prosperity, human and environmental health, and national security. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Climate change will bring economic and environmental challenges as well as opportunities, and citizens who have an understanding of climate science will be better prepared to respond to both. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Society needs citizens who understand the climate system and know how to apply that knowledge in their careers and in their engagement as active members of their communities. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Climate change will continue to be a significant element of public discourse. Understanding the essential principles of climate science will enable all people to assess news stories and contribute to their everyday conversations as informed citizens. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
The #Youth4Climate social media campaign is an effort led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Department of Energy, the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), the CLEAN Network, The Wild Center, the World Bank Group’s global partnership program Connect4Climate, Climate Generation, Earth Day Network, Climate Interactive, Climate Sign, ACE, and others. It is an open discussion for all to join the youth call for climate action.
Connect4Climate is thrilled to work in partnership with the #Youth4Climate coalition to support young people in taking their place at the center of the climate conversation during the historic events of this week and beyond.
Connect4Climate at the UN Paris Climate Agreement Ceremony
Last December, 195 countries came together in Paris and reached an unprecedented agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. In the wake of the agreement, more than 150 countries confirmed that they will sign the Paris Agreement, on April 22. It’s a record number that marks the first step towards turning the Paris climate agreement into action.
The signing ceremony also brings together leaders from civil society and private sector at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to boost climate action. Connect4Climate will also join to witness this historic moment and take part in significant events that will discuss how to take the COP21 agreement forward. Join us!
Guardian Live Q&A: How can the creative industries encourage climate action? – (April 21st)
In order for policymakers to take decisive steps, the general public in countries around the world need to be fully behind taking action to stop climate change. Article 12 of the Paris Agreement specifically requires governments to “enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information.”
Join an expert panel to discuss how creative industries can be effectively engaged to raise public awareness of climate change on Thursday, April 21, 3-5pm BST (10 am -12 pm EST) on Guardian.
Panel Discussion: “Media as a Force for Change” at the United Nations (April 21st)
The focus on the panel discussion is on media and creativity for social impact and the critical importance it will have in the future as we move to the implementation of the new climate agreement as well as the new sustainable development goals. Lucia Grenna, Connect4Climate Program Manager, will join a skilled panel that includes experts from RYOT, Vulcan, Global Brain Foundation, United Nations and others.
Digital Media Zone (April 21st-22nd)
Find us at the Digital Media Zone at the United Nations for engaging conversation and get to know more about Connect4Climate’s initiatives tackling climate change. You will enjoy some of our best #Photo4Climate photos and Virtual Reality video. Also learn more about #Youth4Climate campaign and join us to support youth empowerment in climate action!