“How old will you be in 2050?”
Youth activists at COP-15 wear red T-shirts bearing this question to highlight the fact that, while most of the people involved in the climate change negotiations are, err, well, not young exactly, it’s the younger generation that will actually be most affected by it.
That is why Plan International, a child-centred community development organisation, seeks to empower children around the world to be part of the discussions and solutions of climate change. To that end, they launched their “children in a changing climate” campaign.
The first step in their plan is to promote disaster risk reduction (DRR) education in schools as part of national adaptation plans.
Thomas Tanner from the Institute of Development Studies argues that children and young people have a crucial role to play, as they invariably find a way to express their point of view, either formally or informally.
He points out an example where, as a result of DRR education, children in Santa Paz National High School in the Philippines campaigned to have their school moved away from a location that was susceptible to landslides.
Additionally, the Filipino school children turned into crusaders to solve the problem. They set up a tree nursery and are involved in reforestation programmes to decrease soil erosion and landslides.
Mohammed Yahia, Middle East and North Africa Regional Coordinator, SciDev.Net