Young people and children are also aware of the climate crisis and they should be engaged in addressing it.
Young people are not fully equipped with the education, skills and knowledge around climate change.
Young people's energy should be harnessed for climate response and decision making.
Young people should not be reduced to spectators or future victims of climate change, they are a valuable contributors to climate action and that should be taken seriously from as early ages as possible. As the levels of uncertainly for our future rises and climate impacts intensify, one thing we all know is that it is today's children who will unfortunately pay. My generation has largely failed until now to preserve both justice in the world and to preserve the planet. It is your generation that must make us be accountable to make sure that we don't betray the future of humankind. — United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres
The world currently hast the largest youth population, people between the ages of 15 and 24, 1.2 billion young people account for 16% of the world's population. Their increasing demand for meaningful societal contribution and engagement requires for just, equitable and progressive opportunities for this demographic. Engaging young people in the formulation and implementation of policies and projects is crucial in implementing innovative solutions and accelerating climate-resilient development.
Climate change is a global challenge that requires collective action from all sectors of society. As we strive to combat this pressing issue, it is essential to harness the energy and enthusiasm of young people. The Botswana Climate Change Network (BCCN) recognizes the immense potential of young talent with the Greening the Young Minds Initiative, aiming to advocate for climate change inclusion in the school curriculum and educate students about the importance of environmental stewardship. In this blog post, we will explore innovative ways to involve young individuals and teach them about climate action, sharing a heartwarming example from an officer of BCCN who recently engaged her extended family in a local clean-up activity.
Integrating Climate Change into the Curriculum: One effective approach to involving young talent in climate action is by advocating for the inclusion of climate change topics in the school curriculum. By integrating climate-related subjects into various disciplines, such as science, geography, and social studies, students can develop a deeper understanding of the issue and its implications. BCCN's Greening the Young Minds Initiative is working towards encouraging educational institutions to embrace this approach, fostering a generation that is well-informed and empowered to address climate challenges.
Experiential Learning: To complement classroom education, experiential learning can play a crucial role in fostering a sense of environmental responsibility among young individuals. By organizing field trips, outdoor activities, and clean-up campaigns, like the recent Moshupa Dam clean-up, BCCN provides hands-on experiences that allow students to witness the impact of their actions on the environment firsthand. These activities not only instill a sense of pride and ownership but also inspire young minds to take positive action and become advocates for change.
Youth-led Projects and Initiatives: Encouraging young people to take the lead in climate-related projects and initiatives empowers them to become agents of change. Individuals and organisations can provide platforms for young individuals to develop their ideas and execute projects that address local climate challenges. This could include organizing youth-led workshops, environmental awareness campaigns, or even starting sustainability clubs in schools. By giving young talent the opportunity to shape their own initiatives, we can tap into their creativity and passion, fostering a culture of innovation and active engagement.
Mentorship and Collaboration: Establishing mentorship programs that connect young individuals with experienced professionals in the field of climate change can offer invaluable guidance and support. Mentors can share their knowledge, provide advice, and nurture young talent, helping them develop the necessary skills and expertise to drive climate action forward. Collaborative partnerships with universities, research institutions, and NGOs can further expand opportunities for young individuals to engage in meaningful projects and research, creating a vibrant ecosystem of learning and growth. BCCN participates in the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance initiative called Youth Digital Activists which gives young people the opportunity to be involved in online activism for climate change.
"Earth Day is Everyday" serves as a powerful reminder that our commitment to environmental conservation should extend far beyond a single designated day. It calls for a daily conscious effort to make a positive impact on our planet. By embracing the principles of reduce, recycle, and reuse in our daily lives, we can contribute to the preservation of our natural resources and the protection of our environment. Let us remember that every small step we take, whether it's reducing our consumption, recycling our waste, or finding creative ways to reuse materials, adds up to a significant collective impact. Together, let's make Earth Day an everyday practice and strive to create a sustainable future for generations to come.
Harnessing the potential of young talent is crucial for building a sustainable future and addressing the challenges of climate change. By integrating climate change into the curriculum, providing experiential learning opportunities, encouraging youth-led projects, and fostering mentorship and collaboration, the Botswana Climate Change Network (BCCN) is empowering the future generation of climate leaders. Let us continue to support and nurture the passion and creativity of young individuals, working together to create a resilient and environmentally conscious society. Together, we can make a difference and pave the way for a sustainable and thriving planet.