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Youth Climate Change Activism: Fridays for Future Movement

Youth Climate Change Activism: Fridays for Future Movement

Youth-led climate activism has gained momentum and visibility over the past few years. This activism has played a central role in bringing about a ‘watershed moment’ in the politics of climate change. Due to concern for the Earth’s future, today’s youth is at the vanguard of the worldwide environmental movement. 

Young people understand that mitigating climate change, protecting biodiversity, and addressing other crucial environmental challenges, requires urgent action. Young activists are influencing the conversation and demanding accountability from governments, businesses, and society by organizing climate strikes and protests and using social media as a platform for awareness and advocacy.

For about two years, the climate youth activism initiative Fridays for Future has addressed climate emergency, receiving considerable attention because of their consistent protests every week in many different locations worldwide. Based on empirical studies in Austria and Portugal, investigating the motivations of students to participate in the movement and the solutions proposed by young activists to fight against climate emergency. 

The Challenges that Impact Climate Changes

The impacts of climate change are of great concern to young people around the world. Through various global youth movements, young people are raising their voices to advocate for access to decision-making spaces and for mechanisms to enable them to contribute to the design, implementation, and review of climate policies and programmes at all levels. 

Yet despite these efforts, a lack of political will and a lack of understanding still remain among governments on how to meaningfully engage youth in developing, implementing, and reporting on climate action plans. Despite the good intentions, young people’s engagement often ends up being marginal, unclear, and without adequate resourcing, information, support, and guidance. It is imperative for all stakeholders to recognize the ideas, solutions, and expertise young people bring to the table, so their engagement benefits the process and represents a meaningful and worthwhile experience.

Youth are still developing, physically and psychologically, and will be impacted by climate change over their lifetimes. This means that youth will be exposed longer and more harshly to climate change impacts than older generations. This prolonged exposure increases risk factors at the individual level (disease, malnutrition), at the household level (increased family stress), at the community level (incapacity of public services to meet water demand), and at the national and regional levels (forced migration, social violence).

Fridays for Future Movement 

Starting from 2018 and since then, this seems to be connected to the actions of young climate activist Greta Thunberg, who sparked the global Fridays for Future movement. This movement encouraged young people to engage in organized school strikes and walkouts for climate action. Participation in such events constitutes only one activity in a wider web of youth climate activism.

The year 2018 reflects a watershed moment in global climate politics, and that the school strike movement is important, this is problematic. For instance, one could argue that the pivotal year might be 2016, and that the watershed moment was opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. 

This movement was started by young people, and spread like wildfire across Turtle Island and the world, moving millions to rise up, speak out and take action. The focus on 2018 also leads to a focus on Greta Thunberg's strike action and work with international organizations like the United Nation (UN). Young people's climate activism is inspired by a youth-led, youth-centred approach among activists. 

On March 15 2019, thousands of young people from more than 100 countries walked out of school to demand their governments take decisive action to respond to climate change. The youth-led movement ‘Fridays for Future’ had an impact across world. Youth emphasized that failure to deal with climate change would affect their generation more than any other, and that they were eager to be part of the solution.

Youth across regions face societal constraints to participate meaningfully in their political systems and contribute to development of their countries. Young people do not believe that policymakers adequately represent their interests and needs regarding climate change. Adaptation projects can give youth the opportunities to work towards resiliency of their communities and give them a say in today’s national and local adaptation planning and policymaking, all while enhancing intergenerational equity.

Youth-Led Innovation and Sustainable Solutions

Youth engagement in environmental activism extends beyond protests and awareness campaigns. In many industries, young people actively promote innovation and implement sustainable ideas. They are advancing waste reduction programs, supporting circular economy principles, advancing sustainable agriculture, and creating clean energy solutions.

One inspiring youth advancing sustainable agriculture is the establishment of community gardens in urban areas. Young people have taken the initiative to transform vacant lots or unused spaces into vibrant, productive gardens. This promotes sustainable food production in their communities by implementing organic farming methods, conserving water, and utilizing companion planting techniques. 

Through these efforts, they provide fresh and locally grown produce and educate others about the importance of sustainable agriculture and food security. The success of youth-led environmental advocacy depends on intergenerational cooperation. Young activists can benefit from the knowledge and experience of older activist, and older activists can learn new perspectives and ideas from the younger generation. 

Young people are igniting a global movement toward environmental sustainability by demanding policy reforms and implementing creative solutions. By supporting and amplifying their voices, fostering intergenerational collaboration, and ensuring their inclusion in decision-making processes, we can empower youth activists to drive the transformative change needed for a better, greener future.


We can harness the collective knowledge and energy needed to create meaningful change and build a sustainable future by bridging the gap and fostering intergenerational dialogue.

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