By: Madeleine Skinner- June 15th, 2022
(Photo: Manuel Elías)
It's hard to think of a world where climate change was not at the forefront. It has become something countries, organizations, companies and even individuals must think about, and take action on.
Much of this focus dates back to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972. This was the first world conference to make the environment a major issue. The conference adopted the Stockholm Declaration and Plan of Action - a set of principles for the preservation of the environment, with recommendations for international action.
This month marks fifty years since the 1972 Stockholm Conference. The Government of Sweden hosted a high-level UN meeting from 2-3 June 2022 to commemorate this anniversary.
(Image © Yutaka Nagata/ United Nations)
With people under 30 making up almost 50% of the world's population, action from the youth is essential to combating climate change. Young people’s actions and unapologetic advocacy have moved the dial on diverse political issues, from climate change and mental health, to corruption and gender, to racism and socio-economic inequality. This generation has the power to tackle important issues and create an impact that will change the world for generations to come. Here are some ways for all of us to generate change:
1. Don't be afraid to get involved.
When you are young it can be scary to make your voice heard, as the people in power are older and have been ignoring climate change for so long. But, every one of us has a role to play, getting involved in things such as local climate protests makes a difference!
2. Embrace a sustainable life.
Of course, one person's lifestyle wont make or break climate change, but when many individuals implement small behavioral changes, outward change is made. Small things such as shopping sustainably, driving a car less, eating more plant based, reducing plastic waste etc. have a big impact when an entire generation starts to do it.
3. Keep learning.
It is important for the youth to be educated on the bigger picture of climate change, how it genuinely affects every aspect of life as we know it. The more you know about climate change, the more you can discuss and take action on it.
4. Spreading the word.
Possibly the most important thing for youth to do in order to combat climate change is just to continue talking about it. Climate change is a problem that is not going away without action, so we must keep talking about it until adequate progress is made.
Stockholm+50 is implementing youth lead sessions and webinars, among many other things, in order to put the pressure on and enact global climate action. Similarly, every one of us must keep thinking about climate action, and keep talking about it. Let's not let another 50 years go by without taking extreme action on climate change.
If you want to learn more about the youth engagement in Stockholm+50 and in general climate action: https://www.youthenvironment.org/stockholm50
If you want to learn more about the convention: https://www.stockholm50.global/