Since September, more than 32,000 young people around the world have taken the opportunity to have their voices heard on climate change and action through the British Council’s 8,000 Rising initiative.
Building on research carried out in 23 countries, which formed the basis of the Global Youth Letter on Climate Action, 8,000 Rising has given even more young people the platform to contribute to this collective statement by adding their own views and aspirations for climate action.
Through its online platform, 8,000 Rising has captured the voices of young people in 87 countries, opening the climate debate to thousands more young people globally and helping to keep youth voice on the climate agenda – where it belongs.
These voices informed the debate and discussion at last year’s COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, as well as the COY16 conference of the UN’s International Youth Climate Movement, which took place in the run-up to COP26. And they will continue to play a key role in discussions around climate policy as we move towards COP27.
What are young people are saying about climate change and action?
The diverse voices captured through 8,000 Rising have created a clear global picture about how young people feel about the climate crisis, and the steps they believe we all need to take in order to safeguard the future of our planet.
Their views, experiences and aspirations present a clear set of key statements to inform the future direction of climate action:
- Young people are concerned. They see the urgency of the climate crisis and, therefore, demand urgent action. They want world leaders to recognise climate-related issues as an emergency.
- Young people want collective action. They realise the climate crisis affects every region of the world, and are asking people to put aside their differences and tackle the crisis together.
- Young people want more opportunities to participate. They know they have a unique role to play, and want to bring their energy, enthusiasm and experiences to the table.
- Young people are taking responsibility. They know they have played a part in contributing to the climate crisis, and are ready to change their own lives to make a difference – through recycling, saving energy, planting trees and raising community awareness.
How are these voices informing climate action?
Whilst the Global Youth Letter on Climate Action played an important role in bringing the youth voice to the climate conversation table at COY16 and COP26, 8,000 Rising has continued to build on this, by enriching the debate with even more diverse views and voices.
The inspirational power of these voices was evident during last year’s COY16 conference, in Glasgow. Here, the 8,000 Rising voices encouraged lively debate and discussion, as participants considered how the diverse views and perspectives resonated with their own experiences and aspirations. These sessions at COY16 culminated in the YOUNGO Global Youth Statement – presented at the conclusion of the conference.
Meanwhile, at COP26, the voices collected via the Global Youth Letter and 8,000 Rising were pivotal in helping leaders and decision-makers understand the demands and aspirations of young people globally in relation to climate change and action. Taking centre stage at the conference’s Blue Zone – the area attended by world leaders and high profile visitors – these perspectives also provided continual inspiration as high-level policy discussions took place.
As the climate debate moves forward after COY16 and COP26, 8,000 Rising will continue to inform the global climate debate by being shared at the British Council’s Climate Connection Knowledge Summit, taking place from 14 to 21 March, and as the world prepares for COP27.