I was delighted to be among a group of environmental experts who were invited to speak to young people, from across Europe, at ECO UNESCO's event in Dublin.
The young people I met from Ireland, Greece, Norway and Catalonia discussed pressing environmental issues and how we can and should tackle Climate Change.
They inquired about the impact industry lobbyists have on political policy making, and were perplexed about how a small number of multi corporations can be hugely responsible for most of our planet's emissions without being penalised. They aired concerns about Brexit and the environmental impact it might have throughout Ireland and Europe. Views on migration, the growing insect decline and poor public transport were shared and concerns about the impact fast fashion, air lines and food transportation is having on our planet were raised.
After the discussion we, retreated to another room to discuss the main issues and similar concerns were raised among the groups. They were all concerned about the lack of environmental education they received in schools and felt it should be more prevalent in curriculums. Every group asked for advice, based on our experience, on how to ensure environmental activism delivers successfully.
We collated feedback for the young activists which included recommendations. We recommended that they fully inform themselves about the issues that concern them advised they read policies to get to the bottom of what needs to be changed. We suggested they contact local representatives, network among their peers, be creative, make short videos explaining the issues and to share them on social media while encouraging others to do the same. We also suggested that they take radical action, start public campaigns, spread their message and make people aware as to why Climate Change is important. Ideally we recommended that they engage people, organise, mobilise and create a mass movement.
My own advice to any young person who wants to take action against Climate Change and make change happen is to start by talking to people, to their peers and to spread his or her message. Engaging people can be challenging, so it is important that young people are self-confident in their activism. At times a young person can be put down and knocked back but that must not stop them instead it should be used to strengthen them in their quest.