Future trends: Climate Justice

climate justice image
24th March 2022, with Aine O'Gorman, Climate Activist, Ireland (her full Powerpoint presentation available on google drive here)

Climate change is coming

It’s an indisputable fact. And it will be a shock. And young people will need to be supported to navigate through it.

Economies will be changing over the next 10 years. There are choices about how that change happens. We could be dragged, kicking and screaming, into a new reality. We could adjust policies and approaches for a greener society, but where injustices and inequalities are perpetuated.  Or or young people’s voices can be heard, they can be encouraged and educated so they are able to participate – we can work WITH them to create a better newer world.

Green as a transversal priority

Climate change education and justice should be put into your everyday work, no matter the project, topic, activity. Everyone should be including climate change action (including the basics about reducing individual carbon footprint etc) in everything we do.

It’s important to show young people why climate change is relevant to them. The media/information needs to be improved (and disinformation challenged). Education approaches should be weaved together and more joined up. Involving young people in policy issues and social change is vital.

There should be reflection and evaluation on our approach using a ‘green’ lens: are we helping or making it worse? Are we helping people become more resilient, or not? Are we making a difference to policy and moving our society in the right direction, or not?

Young people taking action

Young people are leading the way with climate change action; they are pushing more in new and different directions, they are the forefront of the change. There is a critical mass of young people who are not afraid to raise their voice.

Climate change will affect them most, but they aren’t old enough to vote to change the democratic systems.

Listen to them, support them and allow them to make mistakes. Their power comes from them being raw and emotional - their decisions coming from desire to have a lovely world to live in. our role as adults is to give them support to do that.

Policies and regulation for climate change

Who decides on the strategies and policies? How can NAs help influence those? How can European Youth Programme events (such as the Youth LAB) link, build and help direct those?

Policies should include these three things:

  1. Adjustment in approach to reduce climate change impact (reduction in emissions, change of focus for economy etc).
  2. Justice for those most badly impacted by the effects of climate change (penalise the rich, support the poor)
  3. Support for those that have to adjust due to new regulations (transition to new economy)

Human Rights and Justice

Climate change is a justice issue to solve. It’s about human rights of everyone that is affected. We know that those in the global south are already being more negatively affected. This trend will continue, and it will be communities that are more marginalised in our societies too that will feel the effects of climate change sooner and harder as it hits.  Global citizenship education is the most important focus to be prepared for this and to do something about it.

We can reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our emissions etc – but we will still be living in the same world. There will still be the injustices and inequalities. If we want to build a cleaner and fairer world, then we need to change the focus of climate change to climate justice. 

Learning mobility should be upscaled to include climate justice. Mechanisms and funding need to be in place to make this happen.