It’s becoming more important and more recognised to engage young people and make sure there are spaces for them to have their voices heard. There needs to be space in the conversation which is owned by them.
New policies should be designed with young people, as well as those with disabilities and from other minorities and other needs. Solutions must be co-created and co-managed.
There should be a child-centred society, talking to young people, listening to what they have to say, and including their needs in actions and policies.
It’s our responsibility as adults to support the voices of young people to be heard. It’s part of intergenerational justice, for adults to amplify their voices.
Move on from having a token voice of young people in a process. Support them with access to the space, into the conversation, and get them heard and influence decision making. We need to show that voices need to be heard.
Pandemic and marginalised youth
The COVID pandemic negatively affected young people and youth work. From the loss of work and income, to the reduced quality of education, to negative impact on mental health and well-being, to exclusion from the online spaces with lack of access/technology, there were many aspects that affected young people. And young people that were vulnerable were adversely affected more – those that were already at risk, fell further.
Marginalised youth will also be more impacted by climate change.
These are the voices that are not highly represented in movements and demonstrations against climate change (eg. Fridays for future have a high proportion of young people who have at least one parent with university education).