20 Actions Young and Older People Can Take for Climate Action Now
It’s difficult not to miss the movement that the incredible Gretta Thunberg has ignited. This Swedish 16-year-old climate activist has helped young and old think about the future, our planet, climate change, the direction its moving in, and why it’s so important that we take action for the climate now.
Across the world, on the 15th March 2019 young people went on strike to protest about the lack of leadership from their governments and demand climate action. As Fintan O’Toole commented in the opening of his opinion piece in the Irish Times, “are we so far sunk into indolence and fatalism that we need our own children to save us?” It would seem so and for that reason among many, globally parents and guardians encouraged young people to get active and stood with them as they did so. As Gretta points out in her TED Talk, “we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction with up to 200 species going extinct every single day”. Doing nothing is not an option.
That said not all school children went on strike. Perhaps they didn’t understand the significance, or enough about climate change to stand up for it. As someone who’s passionate about the power of education, the day of climate action by the youth seemed a good opportunity to engage young people and their teachers. How can we help them better understand its importance? What can they, or we all do to enact change?
Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world – Nelson Mandela
In our local secondary school, with the support of teachers, our oldest daughter and her student council colleagues organised a morning of environmental education and action instead. Choosing some of the actions points below, they helped to inform students across all six years about climate change, empowering them to ask questions for themselves.
20 Action Points for Climate Change for Young People
The following list provides 20 climate actions in no particular order that students, green school committees, student councils, parents and teachers can do for climate action in Ireland now. If you’d like to add to the suggestions in the comments, please do.
- Invite the school to watch the Blue Planet Documentary. Particularly the one about the devastating effect plastics are having on the oceans, or any documentary from Sir David Attenborough where he talks about climate change and what our young people will or won’t inherit.
- Invite a knowledgeable speaker in to the school to talk about climate change and how it will affect future generations.
- Follow the Earth Day Quiz to see what impact you’re having on the planet and measure your carbon footprint.
- If you’re 18 or over, register to vote, ask politicians where they stand on climate change, and then use your vote.
- Learn about the EU Covenant for Mayors for Climate and Energy and find out what your local council are doing about it.
- Be aware of Ireland’s Draft National Energy and Climate Plan Submission and keep an eye on its progress.
- Learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and how you can carry them into your life and community.
- Find out if your local County Council has a biodiversity and/or heritage office in place and ask why not if not.
- Plant some trees (local Council’s usually have free tree saplings available in March, speak to your Environmental Office). The Tree Council of Ireland have good advice about choosing trees for the right place and how to plant trees.
- Write to your local elected officials and ask them what they know about climate change and what they are doing about it. There’s a handy link here that will help you to find your local TD.
- Become a Climate Ambassador.
- Ask your school debating team to discuss issues that affect climate change such as fast fashion and must-have designer goods or electronics. If you don’t have a debating team, create one.
- Play games! Invite your county environmental officer to the school, they might be equipped with various activities that can help students learn about energy, climate change or recycling.
- Climate change is happening as a result of global warming. Get the Facts.
- Talk to your County Council About implementing the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. How do they plan to do it?
- Ask your teachers to include more information about climate change and climate action in their day-to-day lesson plans.
- Stand up for your planet. If you’re in transition year and thinking about a business project, don’t just think about the money. Think about how it might affect the planet and the local community.
- Make a submission to the Heritage Ireland 2030 plan. Our heritage includes the landscape. It’s what you will inherit. Note that the deadline for submissions is 31st March 2019.
- Get involved in Earth Day or local campaigns about plastic pollution, protecting our species and actions on climate change. Importantly, do something! As Turlough O’Brien, Carlow County Senior Football Club said at a recent rural regeneration seminar, “You miss 100 shots you don’t take”. The resources on our planet will not last forever. Take action to protect YOUR FUTURE.
- Nelson Mandela said that “Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world”. Use it.
Don’t for a minute think that you can’t make a difference in the world. Statistically young people can and are doing just that. Do you feel a call to action?
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