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Youth participation: A key solution in advancing climate change awareness

By Lineo Thakhisi - If the current growth of climate change activism has had a positive influence on the reduction of carbon emissions commitment by global leaders, then why should the movement be shaken by the winds of pessimistic perceptions?

Perhaps rather than waiting for dooms day, it may be wise to look through the optimistic views of various activists across the world, that stand bravely like David ready to defeat the modern day Goliath: climate change. Being part of this movement is not a racial struggle, social standard struggle nor is it a religious struggle but rather, the struggle of the human race.

So while it is crucial for the fees to fall along with the poor leadership of the country, and other social ills of our planet, it is also important for our beautiful rainbow nation’s youth climate change ignorance to fall permanently because, when the human race has cease to exist not even the falling of fees or the falling of Zuma will matter.
South Africa has lead as an example in overcoming a worldwide recognized racial struggle, which had the youth of the country in the forefront in bringing the democratic freedom enjoyed today. It comes as no surprise the current active role of the youth that made headlines across the world in the address of the struggles that come as the short-comings of the government, to fulfill the promise of a better and free South Africa. In achieving this, social media has been recognized as the number one vehicle in mobilizing the movement of student demonstrations country wide. It therefore comes as a disappointment to see the lack of youth participation in the conversation of action against climate change.

One of the country’s most vocal youth on issues of climate change who was also South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) youth delegate at CO21, Morategi Kale, has pointed out that the youth indicate that the lack of informal education on climate change is one of the factors behind the lack of interest, as the jargon used in climate change education is too complex to comprehend. These counts as very valid points however, it is very disappointing to see that these are the views of university students who should seek simplified information to understand what is happening around them, as the growing effects of climate change makes them one of the most vulnerable groups.    

The South African youth achievement in making their grievances heard in the past months should indeed go down in the history books and should be an indication of the power they possess in making a difference in world. These are interrelated issues and should be viewed as such, because if education is not accessible then there will not be innovative solutions to adapting to the effects of climate change and, if there is poor leadership in the country the implantations of the commitments made at COP21 will not be achieved.

It is time to look at climate change as the bigger picture of the problems we facing today and for the youth to recognize that without their participation in the implementation of the climate change policies we are indeed doomed.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do necessarily represent the views of FTFA

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