Should youth have a greater say in climate change policy?

“I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future” – Greta Thunberg

Last Friday (15th February) thousands of young people took to the streets across the UK, walking out of lessons at schools and colleges to protest amidst growing climate change concern.

The School Strikes 4 Climate have been taking place across the world since August when school girl Greta Thunberg protested outside the Swedish parliament. Greta refused to go into school for two weeks leading up to the Swedish general election as she believed:

“What am I going to learn in school? Facts don’t matter anymore, politicians aren’t listening to scientists, so why should I learn about it?”

These strikes have perfectly demonstrated the climate change age gap; younger generations are acting on their future whilst older generations and those in power are doing little to enact vital change.

Research into this climate change age gap published by GALLUP found that 70% of Americans aged 18 to 34 worry about global warming, compared to just 56% of Americans over 55. They found that many Americans believe they won’t be alive when climate change changes the world dramatically.

This may be translated in voting patterns; research found that 2/3 of young adults (18 to 34) say they are more inclined to vote for a political candidate who supports cutting greenhouse gas emissions and increasing financial incentives for renewables.

The youth are our future; future consumers, employees and leaders, and we are who will see the devastating effects of climate change. So, why shouldn’t we have a say in our future?

42% of the global population is below 25; youth make up a great proportion of the global population but we are barely listened to. However, what we choose to do could have a monumental impact.

We are the most connected generation in history; we have the power to organise mass global protests – School Strike 4 Climate, the Women’s March, Love Army for the Somali droughts.

Yet many fail to utilise our power – policies signed in parliaments across the world isn’t going to be what makes a change, the actions of young people have the power to make more of a change.

Our generation has been born into a world where climate change is an undeniable fact, we weren’t the ones to cause this problem but we will have to face the consequences. We will be dealing with these consequences for far longer than those with the power to create policies and make the change that is so necessary. With this being the case, surely it is only fair we have a say in our future. Wouldn’t you want an input on yours?

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