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International Youth Day 2008 – Youth and Climate Change: Time for Action

International Youth Day was established by the United Nations in 1999 and first celebrated in 2000. Every year has a different theme and the whole idea is to have programmes and activities that foster information sharing and youth engagement on whatever the theme is for that year.  You can learn more about International Youth Day…

and see all the different themes there have been so far by clicking here.

International Youth Day really is celebrated worldwide.  A simple news search returns results from places like Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UK, Qatar, Bulgaria and Australia.  It was the topic of an address by Canada’s own Governor General Michaelle Jean.  Everywhere countries are celebrating youth and this year addressing climate change and what we can all do about it.

Activities varied around the world but they all had the same theme in mind.  Not only is it a time to celebrate youth and their achievements but it is time for people to take action on climate change, and youth can lead the way.  We are, afterall, the future of this planet and as such we should be taking a greater responsibility for it now, so that as we grow up and raise kids of our own they have a decent enough place to live.

There were all kinds of activities planned wherever International Youth Day was being recognized.  Youth were participating in roundtable discussions, photograph exhibitions, musical programmes, environmental initiatives, workshops, sport contests, planting trees, ceremonies, lectures, rallies.  Anything to get people out and talking and acting.

Something especially interesting is a news release from a group called the Pan Commonwealth Youth Caucus, a group representing the interests of youth in the British Commonwealth (UK, Australia, etc…).  They issued a challenge to governments to recognize and engage youth in order to make a positive change.  We can all relate to ideas such as these that the group made in their statement:

“Young people are especially vulnerable to food shortage and the rising costs of food. Young people are disproportionately affected by conflict, including conflict caused by the inability to share natural resources. Young people feel keenly the loss of environments for both livelihoods and recreation. For these reasons, we, as young people, seek to add our voices to the call for  every effort to be made by governments and international bodies towards climate stabilization.”

You can read the full press release here.

So what is our responsibility when it comes to climate change?  What can we do about it?  There are lots of resources out there, but here are just a few websites to get you going.  There are loads of things we can do every day to help lower our footprint on the environment.  We’ve all heard that we need to “reduce, reuse, recycle” but there are lots of other things that are totally easy to do, like walking, riding your bike or taking the bus when you need to go somewhere, and composting at home, and using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs.  Check out some of these sites and learn what you and your families can do.

Youth against climate change is a group of young people who are concerned about climate change. This is a massive problem which must be urgently addressed before it’s too late. – visit this website for more information.

Climate change youth cafe…This is your opportunity to find out more about climate change and to share your thoughts:

  • What can we do about it?
  • How do we let our friends know about climate change?
  • What do we need to know about climate change?
  • How can we work together?

Check this out to find the answers!

The Canadian Youth Climate Coalition is a united front of youth from across Canada tackling the biggest challenge of our generation, the emerging climate crisis. Click here to learn more.

It’s Getting Hot in Here is the voice of a growing movement, a collection of voices from the student and youth leaders of the global movement to stop global warming. The has grown into a global online community, with over 100 writers from countries around the world.  You can join the discussion here.

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