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Youth have the expertise and influence to accelerate climate action

Youth have connections and peers locally, regionally and globally. [iStockphoto]

The Pope himself spoke this week. His call?m Let all unite to make the world a better place for human and other living organisms.

This was his message as the Pontifical Academy of Sciences hosted a two-day conference themed “Resilience of People and Ecosystems under Climate Stress” at the Vatican.

That the church is getting louder on climate change is not for nothing: The crisis is no longer at the doorstep, but right inside our abodes.

According to a global public opinion survey done by the Yale Programme on Climate Change Communication and Meta this week, “most of the world is worried about climate change - and wants action.”

The report that underscored journalists’ role in not only alerting but also enlightening the public on climate change, shows that globally, people believe climate change is “extremely” or “very important”. People are worried about climate change, “especially about how it will affect young people and generations to come”.

Today’s parent is worried over many things, including the safety of their children in school, those left in the hands of house helps at home, effect of technology and social media on their lives to mention a few. From the report, however, some parents are rightfully worried on how climate change will affect their offspring. 

If this is every parent’s worry, then there is need for some kind of action for the sake of peace for the current and future generations.

Kenya, according to the 2019 census, is a youthful country with more than 35.5 million of the more than 46 million population aged below 35.

Besides having the requisite energy to drive climate action, the youth are the bearers of the latest knowledge on climate change and how it can be tackled. they can curate content and do campaigns that will reach more people than if old methods were to be fully relied on.

This demographic also uses the latest technology in their hands and have the knowledge on social media use to drive campaigns. They have connections and peers locally, regionally and globally.

They are influencers and goodwill ambassadors who can help achieve much, including goals set in the revised Nationally Determined Contributions Kenya sent to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2020.

The youth are the best placed to drive climate action in developing and least developed countries where slow penetration of key information, as well as poor or limited understanding of critical issues around climate change by populations at the frontline of the crisis, have slowed down action.

Youth need to be involved to help push for action from both ends - reducing of greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time increasing communities’ resilience to climate change.

As different political camps’ presidential candidates share their manifestoes, a lot of the time verbally, it is clear that they have recognised the need to tackle climate change to improve food security, health and nutrition, plus the economy.

Through climate action, from training to building indigenous and other communities’ capacity to practise smart agriculture, use water sources and forests sustainably, improve waste management and land use, more job opportunities will come, and absorb the unemployed youth for whom manifestoes are being sold in political rallies now.