The power of youth


We’ve been reading through all of your suggestions for good Topical Talk discussions and this one by contemplative_shark really caught our attention! They asked:

Can we as children make a stand and help stop climate change, even though we have limited resources and, sometimes, limited opportunity? Can children help win the fight against climate change and, if so,what action could we take?


This reminded us of the following news story:

Lots of countries have made promises to reduce harmful emissions that contribute to global warming. However, André Oliveira,13, his sister Sofia,16, and their friends say that leaders are not doing enough. After seeing the damage caused by wildfires in their home country of Portugal, the Oliveira siblings, along with four other young people, decided to sue the governments of the 33 most polluting countries in Europe. They argue that climate change risks their health and future and that this violates their human rights. They hope that the European Court of Human Rights will force these countries to reduce emissions. The court has accepted their case and given it priority status. “We had to sue them [to] give them another chance to do the right thing…" Ms Oliveira said, "if adults are not doing the right thing, children and young adults must do the right thing.”

Comments (9)

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  • To be honest I feel glad that someone has been able to do what I could not do, I feel happy and I cannot relate this joy with any other thing I have ever felt before, this is just a step to be honest I feel like the adults have had their try and they have shown us exactly what they can do, so they should sit back for now and what us children change the world, it is time for a revolution.
    Yes, I believe that they would win their case unless someone has some useful information on some hidden things that the government has been doing to save the planet if not too bad because the kids are having a run and we are coming out victorious.
    To be honest I think the power of a youth is more undermined that it's actual capabilities, I mean child ideas are so pure and full of heart and if you ask me, they speak a special language that makes the whole world eager to please them.
    Yes, I do things to help the climate change the students in my class are currently working on a project to help to make the planet a better place to live in my reducing the fumes around us.

    1. You have made an interesting comment accurate_wombat. I agree with what you said "To be honest I think the power of a youth is more undermined than it's actual capabilities.." It is true that many people think youths cannot step out to make a change in the world. Many people downgrade our actual politician. Taking the case of the Oliveira siblings, André Oliveira, and his sister Sofia, are ages 13 and 16 respectively but they have already made their cause know globally. Many people now know them but there are still so young. Others young climate activists include, Nyombi Morri (a 24 year old Ugandan activists), Xiye Bastida, (a 20 year old Mexican activist) and others. These are people that are leading the way on global climate action.

      However, you said, "To be honest I feel glad that someone has been able to do what I could not do..." Let us look at this from another point of view. Every child can contribute to stopping climate change no one should ever feel like he/she is not putting effort into stopping climate change just because the person feels like his/her effort is too small. Nobody's effort is too small. What matters is that you are making an effort. Even from encouraging people in your community to recycle or to try more eco-green clothing options, you are helping to stop climate change. It does not have to be something big like suing countries that engage in pollution. Nobody should feel bad because they feel they are not doing enough. Don't beat yourself up about it. Your effort matters! What do you think accurate_wombat? Do you agree?

  • In the story, André Oliveira, his sister Sofia, and four of their friends sued 33 of the world's most polluting countries in court. I feel that they did the right thing. They were not wrong. The Oliveira siblings have experienced a lot due to climate change as their home in Portugal was damaged due to wildfires as a result of climate change. Not just them, but many people all over the world, too, have suffered due to the effects of climate change. Gerry Liston, legal officer at the Global Legal Action Network, said, "They were prompted to act based on the anxiety they're experiencing, because of what they're witnessing all around them" so it is understandable why they had to take that action. I think this is one huge step in the fight against climate change. Before now, activists have been protesting and placing petitions to countries to reduce their pollution. Not all countries have reduced their emissions so far hence just as Ms. Oliveira said, "if adults are not doing the right thing, children and young adults must do the right thing.” This court case will serve as a warning to such countries so that they will change like Ms. Oliveira also said, “We had to sue them [to] give them another chance to do the right thing…". Furthermore, the court case seems to be proving fruitful as according to, André said, "Most politicians make these statements that they're going to lower emissions 60% by 2030,".

    I feel the children will win the case because they will likely have the support of climate change activists and supporters from all over the world. Plus I think the children have solid evidence to back up their case.

    Yes, children and youths can do the little they can to help stop climate change. From getting people in their community to recycle and reuse waste, using greener means of transportation such as cycling, organizing fundraising activities(such as bake sales), and donating the money to organizations that help in stopping climate change to even going international like the Oliveira siblings. We all can do something even if it is something small, whatever is within our capabilities we can do to help stop climate change. It doesn't matter how big or small your effort what matters is that you are making effort.

    In my community, my friends and I designed recycle bins for cans, plastic, and biodegradable wastes and put them in strategic places in our communities and encouraging the members of our community to dispose of the waste accordingly then we get our parents to help us deliver the cans, plastics and biodegradable wastes to factories that recycle them to make different products.

    1. I do think that we can also have a say on what is going on in the world today no matter how young we are. Our voice can still be heard but it depends on how we spell it out to the world before it can be heard. Am sure many people were facing the same problems as the Oliveira siblings and might have reported but were not listened to, I feel it is how we make our voice heard that depends.

  • 1. What happened in the news story? How do you feel about it?
    The story talks about harmful emissions which contribute to Global warming. Oliveira siblings filed a case against 33 Governments who pollute most in Europe. They argue that climate change risks their health and future and that this violates their human rights. I feel responsible not only for myself but for what is happening around the environment and globe after reading this story.

    2. Do you think the young people will win their case? Why or why not?
    Yes, I strongly think, young people can win over the case. Anyone can win if we have justice on our side. We need to be honest and straightforward in pointing out issues around them. This makes a healthy society. Law is the same for one and all, hence young or adult doesnot matter in any case.

    3. How would you respond to contemplative_shark’s questions?
    By understanding the thought behind the questions; remove emotional aspect from the question and answer to the point.

    4. Do you do anything to help stop climate change? What?
    Yes, I can definitely start doing something to help stop climate change. Sharing few points below:
    I recently started talking about how to stop carbon emission to my family members like
    Switching off electrical gadgets when not in use
    Use public vechicle wherever it is possible and few more
    I feel chill when I pass the roads with trees on both sides and feel very hot to travel on the roads where there are no trees.
    So, When I myself have felt like that, I imagined how the earth would have felt without trees. Wouldn't be so hot for Earth without green trees.
    So, I want to plant more trees. We can have a challenge as who planted most no. of trees in their life time must be awarded not to motivate the person but to emphasize that how important this is to the entire human race and the Globe.

  • Basically, we can just see children caring about their environment that is it, I feel concerned that if these children at their young age can become climate activists and the so-called grown-up leaders do nothing then we have a serious problem. The thing with human beings is that we lack the ability to accept defeat, I for one believe they can win the case, but the thing is winning is not the problem, changing is the problem. João Joanaz de Melo, an environmental engineering professor at NOVA University Lisbon, has spent years advocating for greener policies, including less reliance on cars and reforesting woodlands with native trees. "Change takes decades," he says. "For example, it can take 200 years to see full-grown Mediterranean forests from the bare soil after a fire. "Basically, I feel the reason for this is because we have harmed the planet for too long that it takes a lot of time to heal. I hope that they win the case to, but that's not enough for the dramatic policy changes needed to avoid a climate emergency.

  • In the story, André Oliveira, his sister Sofia, and four of their friends sued 33 of the world's most polluting countries in court. I feel like they felt that the countries had not done enough and they were not giving enough about the climate change and the sisters and friends decided to move a big step to make these countries at least start thinking about the climate change and at least try to solve it, this also had to act as a warning to allother government to reduce there emissions because the climate is greatly declined I feel that the sisters had experienced much because of climate change back in there home in Portugal and they had to also understand that many people around the world are facing even bitter situations because of climate change and the main cause of climate change now is the high emissions into the atmosphere basing on the situation they faced it is understandable fir them to move that huge step because I think they had already seen the protests if the climate activists and they saw that the government was not giving them attention so they had to look for a better way to make there voices reach the government and if I had any maen to help them I would possibly help them.
    I also think that they will win the case because they a strong crowd of supporter from around the world and the support from all the climate activists around the world they also have a strong or solid evidence to show how the climate change has affected and killed alot of people and how the government have not handled the issue if carbon emissions which they say violates there rights in away that everyone has a right to shelter and if the government mishandles a situation and that situation results in to destroying ones shelter the government is held accountable so in that way it makes me feel that the children will win the case.
    I do think that children and youths can do something about climate change, because most of them have attended school and they know the ways through which they can be able to reverse the climate change for example in our school we are asked to do project that are related to what we studying class but in our projects we use local wastes for example polythenes, plastic bottles and many other things and other thing they can do is to afforestate in a fashioned and easy way for example they should try planting trees on each other's birthday as a way of celebrating the years they have spent with atleast fresh air they should play trees equal to one age, the other thing is that the authorities can hear more if children's voice than adults because they know that if even children protest about something it is true because they can't have a hidden agenda when doing something so they should also try to protest in a better way since they can access the internet they should use it to spread the message.
    As I have state above we help to reverse the climate change by reusing materials that could be dangerous to the environment and planting trees in masses.

  • You have raised a good point accurate wombat, that perhaps the way to combat climate change is not winning but changing the way the world works. If you were in a position of power what would you do to change the way we run to avoid the climate emergency?

  • As a kid I can do many things to sustainable .. I always draw on two sides of paper instead of using just one .. I always turn on the lights when I need..and now I'm giving the clothes I have outgrown to someone smaller than me . Im thinking of new way to conserve. In addition I'm reminding grown-ups to be green .

    1. I agree because that is very true because, if you notice children has good hearts even more than the adults we have these days. If you notice a lot of children like seeing people smile especially adults, in most of the movies you watch you will notice that children love drawing and when they draw they love giving adults in other to make the adults happy,i really don't know for other but i feel children love giving more than adults because they don't have anything to lose after or regret after, but as will all know adults have a lot of things to do and they think about a lot of things like, how to provide food for the family and where to get the money from.

  • Yes youth is more active teacher took promise from me at the start of new session that I shall not throw any wrapper on my class room floor nd should not throw any garbage on already placed garbage rather inform my school sweeper to remove that heap . I think once in a year if all kids promise to keep their surrounding neat nd clean . On the event of class decoration I used all recycling items . As I used tissue rolls for pen holders some old buttons nd laces for decoration a paint buckets decorated with glaze papers as bun .also I cut disposable bottles as flower vases . Some empty containers to make 3 D shapes .

  • Every year, COP events are organized and countries all over the world join in discussions on how to tackle climate change and after the event,the country leaders take the responsibility of deciding what their country does to address the issue and I think it's fair that way because different methods work for different places if one is tackling pollution,he doesn't do the same as the person tackling drought.The good news is that we can do something to stop climate change,it's just a matter of paying attention to our environment and minding more about protecting through ensuring proper disposal of wastes,reusing fast fashion as second hand clothing reducing pollution from fast fashion cause it produces 10% of the global carbon emissions.Ensure there trash cans in city centers for collecting rubbish for recycling to make other products.
    For the youth,we can take this opportunity to reduce unemployment through making products out of dumped plastics such as bird feeders,flower vessels,soda bottle sprinklers which can be sold for money and making briquettes that are an alternative source of energy.Leaders can take up the road of encouraging there people to do afforestation,reforestation and agroforestry to improve the number of 🌲 trees.Using more sustainable materials such as paper bags for packaging instead of plastic bags to reduce harmful waste, Putting restrictions against driving cars in bad mechanical conditions and install filters in chimneys of factories to reduce emissions.Using alternative sources of energy such as biogas and natural gas.
    Avoid dumping wastes in the water bodies and conserve the seas.We should resort to such practices before it becomes too late like in these futuristic movies where Earth becomes inhabitable.
    All in all,let's love,protect and conserve the Earth to our best cause it's our planet and home.