Introduction to Climate Justice and How the Youth Contributes:
“It’ll take everyone to disrupt business as usual and secure a better future. We can all take part — whatever our circumstances — by refusing to accept the status quo.”
-from Global Climate Strike, one of the organizations at the heart of Climate Change Activism in the U.S.A. and beyond.
Climate Change Activism has become at the center of news coverage worldwide. One particular example of Climate Change Activism at its finest is the “Global Climate Strike” that happened in September of last year. Millions of people, in countries such as the United States and Brazil, sent a significant to government powers: Climate Change is real and we demand justice. This is the powerful image that might appear in certain individual’s minds when they think of Climate Change.
At the heart of Climate Change activism, is Climate Justice. One might ask: “What is Climate Justice?” During the UN’s General Assembly’s High-level Meeting on the Protection of the Global Climate for Present and Future Generations, “Climate Change” was defined by former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson. According to the former leader, Climate Justice follows a change from the scientific basis of global warming (greenhouse gases, ozone layer) to the humanitarian implications of such a crisis.
Many of the most impactful Climate Change Activists focus on Climate Justice (although there are some who do focus on the scientific side). For example, there’s Quannah Chasinghorse, an indigenous Climate Justice leader from Alaska. She brought Climate Justice to the forefront during last year’s Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention in Fairbanks. There’s also Kulsum Rifa, who attended the UN youth climate delegation supporting SustainUs, a social justice group.
All these activists are teenagers, thus showing the impact of young people on Climate Justice.
In fact, given the right tools and resources, teenagers and high school students can have an even larger global impact in the field of Climate and environmental justice. All it takes is the right platform. It is for this reason that I have created my following response, which help us form the next leaders of the Climate Justice movement. The more leaders we have, the more power we gain.
Stand Up For The Future, a high school club model to promote Climate activism.
The Research Behind Climate Change Activism & My Response:
In understanding the landscape of Climate Change Activism, we can look at the research on the topic. The article “The genesis of climate change activism: from key beliefs to political action” from the journal Climate Change, provides insight research on the different factors that impact the effectiveness of Climate Change Activism. The article details the results of a study, completed using a Theoretical Social-Cognitive Model of Political Activism for Climate Change Mitigation, and what are its implications.
One of the most significant revelations from the article was how identity is a barrier to activism. According to the article, one way to alleviate the problem is by “employ[ing] spokespeople a wide range of people can or would like to identify with e.g., activist mothers, doctors, celebrities, high school students, etc” (Roser-Renouf, C., Maibach, E.W., Leiserowitz, A. et al). Therefore, effective Climate Change Activism must address the value of identity in the field. An appropriate response to Climate Change Activism should highlight this.
More importantly, the article underscores one successful response to improving climate activism. According to the article, “The threat posed by climate change should continue to be a component of climate change messaging, but should be accompanied – and perhaps even preceded – by messages on effective actions individuals can take” (Roser-Renouf, C., Maibach, E.W., Leiserowitz, A. et al). In summary, there needs to a combination of two tactics applied to successfully educating Climate Change activists:
The article reveals impressive information that must be considered when improving Climate Change activism. In my response that I will present to you all, I address the results from the study mentioned above. By addressing the main themes from the study, we are able to break once impermeable barriers and education more and people on the importance of Climate Change.
Thoughts and Reflections Podcast:
Stand Up For The Future Survey:
Works Cited and Consulted:
Roser-Renouf, C., Maibach, E.W., Leiserowitz, A. et al. The genesis of climate change activism: from key beliefs to political action. Climatic Change 125, 163–178 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1173-5.
Unknown, “Climate Justice”. UN News. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/climate-justice/.
Wikler, Maia. Yakupitiyage. “11 Young Climate Justice Activists You Need to Pay Attention To”. Vice. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/climate-justice/.
Sarwar, Haider. “Meet Quannah Chasinghorse: The 17-Year-Old Leading Climate Activism in Alaska.” the rising. https://therising.co/2019/12/25/quannah-chasinghorse-climate-activism/.
Connie Roser-Renouf, Edward W. Maibach, Anthony Leiserowitz and Xiaoquan Zhao. “The Genesis of Climate Change Activism”, Yale Program On Climate Communication, 23 Jun 2014. https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/the-genesis-of-climate-change-activism/.
Tigue, Kristoffer. Gustin, Georgina. “ ‘We See Your Greed’: Global Climate Strike Draws Millions Demanding Action’ ”, Inside Climate News, 20 Sep. 2019.
Tigue, Kristoffer. Gustin, Georgina. “ ‘We See Your Greed’: Global Climate Strike Draws Millions Demanding Action’ ”, Inside Climate News, 20 Sep. 2019.https://insideclimatenews.org/sites/default/files/styles/opengraph_large/public/article_images/new-york-climate-strike-2019_kristoffer-tigue.jpg?itok=xXN-kFgO.
Calma, Justine. “Voices from the Global Climate Strike”. The Verge. 20 Sep. 2019. https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/20/20875505/global-climate-strike-protest-students-youth-voices-change.