- Do you think climate change is having an effect on you, your family and friends?
- Do you want to do something about it at your school or in your local community?
- Want to know more about how you can make change happen?
What is Climate Change?
Since we emerged from the last ice age around 11,000 years ago, the Earth’s climate has remained relatively stable. However, in the last century our climate has started to change rapidly. This isn’t thought to be just a temporary blip in the system; the evidence points to a long-term change in our climate which is happening at an unusual rate.
Natural and human factors both affect global climate. Natural causes include interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, changes in the Earth’s orbit and volcanic eruptions. Humans influence global climate by releasing greenhouse gases – such as carbon dioxide and methane – into the atmosphere. These gases absorb energy that is radiated from the Earth’s surface, warming the atmosphere and increasing temperatures globally.
What are the impacts of Climate changes?
In virtually every country of the world, climate change is already beginning to have an impact. Climate change is the desertification of African soil, the heat waves in Europe, the recurrent flooding in Asia, the destruction of corals in the sea, the changing rainfall patterns in Latin America... climate change is a lot of things and it is everywhere. While individuals of all ages are affected by these changes, ultimately it is young people and future generations who will have to bear the brunt.
“The way in which we deal with climate change now will have a decisive impact on the world that today’s young people and their children will inherit.”
Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action
What can you do about it?
There are lots of things you can do in your daily life to reduce your impact on the environment like turning off lights, reducing the amount of meat you eat or using more sustainable products? You can find lots more ideas on our take action page.
But why not go a step further and see if you can reduce the impact your school or community has on the environment by starting a campaign or action project like these young people have. You could even aim to influence climate change policies and decisions at local, national and international level and make a lasting impact on the way we all live!
It can be done and we have lots of examples, ideas and tips to make your climate change action project a success
How you can make change happen!
To make change happen you need to reach the right people
Decision-makers are all around us. Every day they make decisions that affect our lives. At school it might be a head teacher or principal. Locally, it might be your mayor or a local elder. Nationally, it might be a Senator, a Congressman, a Member of Parliament or a Member of the European Parliament.
People like these have the power to make significant and lasting change happen, but they don’t have all of the answers. They have a duty to take into account everybody’s opinions when they make decisions – including yours. But they won’t know what you want unless you tell them. You have a right to have your voice heard, and, by using it, you can influence the decisions that affect your life.
Find out more about how you can influence decision makers and get your voice heard
How to get more involved in combating climate change
You don’t have to tackle climate change all on your own! There are loads of organisations and networks that you can learn from and join forces with. Here are just a few to get you started:
UNFCCC – United Nations Convention on Climate Change
An international environmental treaty and ongoing forum for dialogue aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions – hosts of the annual international climate summits
International Youth Climate Movement
Organisation representing Youth NGO’s at UN climate negotiations – officially recognized as a UN constituency in the UNFCCC process (YOUNGO)
Children in a Changing Climate
International coalition of humanitarian organisations focusing on children and climate change
Africa and Europe in Partnership
EU-African partnership which provides an opportunity for dialogue, cooperation and exchange on concrete actions to respond to climate change
African Union – Youth Division
Official website of the youth division of the AU, linking 54 different countries on pan-African issues including climate change
The Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC)
A network of African youth organizations and individuals working on issues of climate change & sustainable development. The movement operates in over 25 African countries to ensure participation of African Youth in Climate Change debate.
UK Youth Climate Coalition
A network of young people in the UK who aim to inspire, empower, mobilise and unite young people to take positive action on climate change.
European Youth Forum
A platform for over 90 National Youth Councils and European youth NGOs
European Youth Parliament
An opportunity to be listened to by MEPs and other European politicians and officials
Last Updated (Wednesday, 02 January 2013 15:54)