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Why young people are speaking out about climate change

21 September 2021, Impact of Our Work

We’re young but we’re bold

My name is Ella and I’m 14 years old. And I’m scared for my future.

As a young person involved with the School Strike 4 Climate movement I chat regularly to other young people too. Turns out, we’re all scared. Seventy-five percent of young Australians think their future is frightening and 84 percent said they were worried about climate change.
But that fear is also galvanizing us to take action. My activism stems from my anxiety around climate change. As a young person, I can’t stand by and watch as my future becomes more fragile every year. While our politicians ignore the fact that current disasters are intensifying due to the climate crisis, scientists are telling us we need to do more to reduce the intensity and severity of disasters. It’s not a complex theory or speculation—statistics paint a clear picture of what the future may be like.

Ella has been speaking out for climate justice for a number of years.
Image: Supplied. 

Speaking out at COP26

This year the UN’s global climate summit (COP26) will take place in Italy and Scotland. One of the lead-up events to this has been Youth COP, where young people will express their views on climate change.

400 young people from 197 member countries have been invited to Milan to develop concrete proposals for Pre-COP26 in Milan and COP26 in Glasgow. I’m honoured and delighted to be one of them.
I never could have imagined being invited to COP and many years ago I would have no idea what it even is. But now, with the climate anxiety of my peers weighing heavily in my mind, I cannot wait to make our case to the international community.
This incredible journey heavily supported by my mum has taught me a lot about working internationally. I have attended several meetings with other delegates and have also been put into working groups to develop proposals we will be presenting to Ministers attending the Pre-COP26.

It’s never been a more important time to get involved

I feel very privileged to be part of the fight for climate justice. Part of it requires sacrifice, like missing out on hanging out with friends. But there are many of us in the movement, and I have made some of my closest friends in this space. Fighting for justice has brought us together.
Sometimes I feel disheartened and hopeless, as I hear how politicians continue to advocate for continuing with coal, but my Jewish background reminds me to never give up the fight. I stand up for others because I know there were people who protected my family. 
The first ever protest I attended was the School Strike 4 Climate Global Day of Action on November 30, 2018. I had never been to a protest before. The feeling of being surrounded by passionate young people was one I will never forget. From then on, I was all in. After this I got involved with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and their federal election campaign, the first campaign I ever worked on. After attending a weeklong workshop camp with climate leaders from across the country I began to get involved with School Strike 4 Climate on an organising basis. From then on I have been organising the Melbourne/Narrm strikes and online events with the group.    
What I’ve learnt over this journey is that my story is not unique. There are so many of us worried about what the future holds if we can’t control our emissions to 1.5C. I am not alone. You are not alone. There are thousands of people across the globe that understand us, and they can’t wait to join the fight.

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