Youth’s Active Participation in Fighting Against Environmental Degradation

Highlighting Youth’s Active Participation in the Fight Against Environmental Degradation

Historically, activism has played a crucial role in advancing social rights. Activists have championed advocacies aimed at improving living conditions—whether social, economic, or political. In recent years, the involvement of young people in environmental advocacy has gained significant attention, spurred by the rise of prominent movements and initiatives led by youth, serving as a source of inspiration. Their protests are justified as people worldwide experience the impacts of escalating environmental degradation, threatening biodiversity, ecosystems, and human well-being. Today, the pivotal role of youth in addressing this pressing issue comes sharply into focus amidst the backdrop of escalating environmental challenges.

2019 Student Climate Strike

What began as the solitary effort of one individual evolved into a global movement ignited by the collective frustration of young people worldwide over inadequate environmental actions by global leaders. The 2019 student climate strike marked a global awakening, where young voices rose in unison to demand urgent government action to mitigate climate change. Students joined the movement, advocating for climate justice and a transition to renewable energy.

The movement started with Greta Thunberg, then a 15-year-old Swedish student, who initiated a solo protest in August 2018. Thunberg refused to attend school and instead camped outside the Stockholm parliament for three weeks leading up to the Swedish election, protesting the lack of action on climate change. Her unconventional approach, initially viewed as unusual for someone her age, captured widespread attention. Soon, other students joined her in solidarity, inspired by her courage and dedication to the cause. Her bold statement, “…politicians aren’t listening to the scientists, so why should I learn?” underscored the frustration and realization felt by many, serving as the motivation and driving force behind the movement.

Subsequently, Fridays for Future was established. Thunberg continued to skip school on Fridays to strike after the Swedish elections, and students worldwide began participating in their own weekly climate strikes every Friday. Environmental campaigners estimated that the climate strikes mobilized over 1.4 million participants globally. In the same year, these strikes inspired workers and employees to join in, showcasing the potential of young people to make a significant impact and encouraging participation across generations.

Utilizing Legal Measures

Contributing to the environmental fight is Ridhima Pandey, a 16-year-old Indian environmental activist who, at the age of 9, filed a complaint with her leaders for their insufficient efforts to combat climate change. Pandey lodged a petition with the National Green Tribunal against the Indian government for its inadequate climate actions.

Despite the dismissal of her petition, the young activist continued to inspire youth by becoming a steadfast voice demanding action from leaders against climate change. Following the dismissal, she escalated the matter to India’s Supreme Court. Additionally, Pandey has been actively participating in international conferences, climate strikes, and various campaigns to raise awareness about environmental issues. In recognition of her efforts, Pandey received the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice in 2021 and was named one of BBC’s 100 Most Influential Women in 2020. In 2019, Pandey and 15 other young climate activists filed a complaint with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for the failure to address climate change.

Conclusion

The pivotal role of youth in the fight against environmental degradation is undeniable. Through their unwavering commitment and tireless efforts, young activists like Greta and Ridhima exemplify the transformative power of activism and policy advocacy. Youth-led environmental activism has not only raised awareness but has also educated participants and the public about the urgency of climate change, fostering a deeper understanding of environmental issues. Looking ahead, it becomes clear that empowering and supporting youth environmental efforts will be crucial in addressing the pressing challenges of our time and building a more sustainable and resilient world for future generations.

References:

Photo by: Freepik
Writer: Jamie

Published on July 08, 2024.
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Historically, activism has played a crucial role in advancing social rights. Activists have championed advocacies aimed at improving living conditions—whether social, economic, or political.
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