Youth of the World to Governments: Less Talk, More Action on Climate Change & Eco-Sustainability

tunza conference korea photo
Several months ago when I interviewed Gus Speth, outgoing head of Yale University's School of Forestry of Environmental Studies and former head of the UNDP, I asked him about the future of environmentalism. He expressed that in many ways it will take a generational change to really cement environmental sustainability in society.

Here's some evidence of that new generation: At the Tunza Children & Youth Conference in South Korea, 700 young people got together, as part of the UN's 'Seal the Deal!' climate campaign. The message to world politicians was clear: "We now need more actions and less talking" on climate change and sustainability: It's Our Lives We're Talking About
Anne Walraven, a delegate from the Netherlands put plainly the situation:

We are the generation of tomorrow. The decisions that are made today will define our future and the world we have to live in. So we young people of the world urge governments to commit to a strong post-Kyoto climate regime. It is our lives we are talking about.

Just Post-Kyoto Agreement + Green Economy Called For
Here's what the children and young people at the conference (people aged 10-24 attended) said governments around the world need to commit to:
  • Agree on a more fair, just and action oriented post-Kyoto agreement adopted and implemented by all countries.
  • Have strict laws and enforcement against those who pollute and degrade the environment, coupled with education and incentives to protect the environment.
  • Develop and implement clearly defined carbon action plans and climate response strategies, which can be monitored and reviewed by an independent multi-national climate facility.
  • Transition toward a green economy based on renewable energies and offer more incentives for people to buy affordable energy efficient products.
  • Reduce the number of vehicles and traffic density on our roads, including improved and affordable public and pedestrian transport systems.
  • Make engaging environmental education mandatory in schools and universities and promote community environmental awareness.
  • Pay attention to the conflicts that have developed throughout the world and the negative impact it has had on the environment and develop conflict resolution strategies.
  • Make it mandatory to include carbon and ecological footprint information in products.
  • Implement green energy and industry, including sustainable food production.
  • Support youth efforts to make a change in the world.

Here's the full statement that came out of the South Korea meeting: Listen to Our Voices: The Future Needs Strong Vision and Leadership
photo: UNEP
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