This week the Monitor launched a seven-part series tracing how young people are forging a response to climate change. Rather than finding despair over slow action by governments, reporters found individuals relying on enterprise and ingenuity to act. In less wealthy nations, they found young people who reject helplessness and are unwilling to wait for the grown-ups to resolve their disputes.
Take a young climate activist in Bangladesh, Farzana Faruk Jhumu. She wants to change the way the Global North talks about the Global South as being vulnerable or doomed. “We want to show there is hope and many solutions are already there,” she said.
For youth from Namibia to Bangladesh, the world’s changing weather patterns leave no time for lengthy debates. Climate change, as the Monitor reports, “is shaping a mindset revolution” among the emerging generations. Some have turned to protest. Others, like youth in Montana and Portugal, have taken governments to court.
Yet the real activity is happening largely out of public view – in local projects often shared on Instagram and Facebook that reflect “a new ethos about consumption, ‘progress,’ and what it means to have a good life,” the Monitor reported.
In Kenya, a young entrepreneur has harnessed satellites to collect data on climate and environmental fluctuations. That information is helping nearly 3,000 small-scale farmers check on soil health and make better-informed crop decisions. The project’s goal is to reach 15,000 family farmers in 20 countries by the end of the year. In Namibia, the Monitor met Deon Shekuza, a young “climate influencer” who devotes his time to teaching his peers about green hydrogen and other renewable energies.
For Mr. Shekuza, climate change fits into a continuum of Africa’s pursuit of democracy and equality forged by earlier struggles against slavery, colonialism, and apartheid. “In our day, for my generation, the environment has presented itself as the challenge of our era,” he said.
The most challenging intervals of human history have often resulted in great transformations led by youthful thinkers. That may be the most salutary disruption of climate change.