The stark reality of the climate crisis is no longer a distant threat; it’s upon us. From extreme weather events and rising sea levels to wildfires and shifting ecosystems, the signs of climate change are increasingly evident. The urgency of addressing this crisis cannot be overstated.
“More than a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use has led to global warming of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. This has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world.“
– IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report
The Current State of the Climate Crisis
“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred”
– IPCC’s Climate Change 2023 Synthesis Report
From the report it is apparent that human influence and activities has increased the global temperature thus rapidly increasing the effect of climate disaster. The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said that 2023 is firmly set to be the warmest year on record. The global average temperature for January-September was 0.52 degrees Celsius higher than the average of the climate change service’s 1991-2020 reference period, based on its records dating back to 1940. That temperature is 1.4 C higher than the pre-industrial period from 1850 to 1900, the institute added.
“What is especially worrying is that the warming El Niño event is still developing, and so we can expect these record-breaking temperatures to continue for months, with cascading impacts on our environment and society,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. Extreme Weather Events are already affecting millions of people across the globe. Why does it matter for youths to care? Because as youth we will bear the brunt of the long-term consequences of climate change. The impact of the climate crisis will significantly affect their quality of life. Us as youths have a vital stake in the future and are uniquely positioned to drive climate action and inspire change.
What Can We Do?
By taking action and advocating for climate solutions, young people can shape a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future for all. Here are some things you can do as a youth!
1. Educate Yourself
Knowing the facts about the climate crisis is very important to tackle the issue and to have more productive discussions on climate change and how we can start locally and globally. Start by learning about the science of climate change, its impacts, and the underlying causes. Understanding the issue is the first step in effectively addressing it.
You can get resources to learn about climate change through some of these websites!
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- United Nations Climate Action
- Center for Climate & Energy Solutions (C2ES)
2. Support Sustainable Practices And Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The National Waste Management Information Data System (SIPSN) of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) in 2022, the results of input from 202 districts/cities throughout Indonesia, stated that the amount of national waste stockpiled reached 21.1 million tons. Of the total national waste production, 65.71% (13.9 million tons) can be managed, while the remaining 34.29% (7.2 million tons) has not been managed well. We all know the classic “3R” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), does it really help? Well by looking at the data it will. Most waste that ends up in landfills are single plastics and waste that could be repurpose to other things. It is important to know that we don’t have to be perfect at everything we do to fight the climate crisis but even a small action will have an impact especially if you also spread awareness to other people to help fight the crisis together. There are also other practices that you can easily follow!
Get yourself involved in local projects. You can join environmental restoration projects such as tree planting, wildlife conservation or cleanups projects like forest cleanups, river cleanups. and most popular beach cleanups! By getting involved in these projects you will create a long lasting impact for the community. You can teach others from what you learned and gained from these projects. Volunteering also allows you to connect with others who share the same values about the environment. It can lead to lasting friendships and create more impact together and spread awareness and create change.
You can join many of these volunteer projects in your own community. There are also organizations that provide people with volunteer opportunities to join such as AIESEC and their programs, Global Volunteer and Local Project. Volunteering is a win-win situation, benefiting both you and the communities you help. It’s a powerful way to give back, grow as a person, and contribute to positive change in the world.
Remember that collective action is key, and your efforts can have a meaningful impact. By working together with others and communities, young people can play a vital role in addressing the climate crisis and building a more sustainable future.