Pass the Mic

This issue of The Environment is brought to you by young people from across the globe. It highlights why we must listen to those often overlooked. It features young people who are courageous, inspired and not afraid to question their own beliefs in the face of the climate crisis – the fresh perspectives we need.

Addressing climate change requires a new kind of courage, to examine and reinvent the stories we tell ourselves. We need more powerful stories about what’s possible, to inspire us to create change and focus on solutions.

From overconsumption to managing food waste in Hong Kong, to fighting for Canada’s Indigenous communities’ right to safe, clean drinking water, every article offers new thinking and hope. This issue recognises how hard it can be for young people today, surrounded by climate doomerism – exaggerating feelings of ecoanxiety and hopelessness.

Flora Duff hopes we can move from anxiety to agency. “We cannot let doom win. We need to empower young changemakers who often feel unrepresented.

Awa Ndiaye challenges what it means to be a youth activist today: “When we stop being heroes, we can start to have those crucial, difficult conversations about our complicity in the crisis. We can start to make space for other people’s voices and invite them in to create the solutions.”

Different people find diverse sources of strength. Anishinabek Nation chief water commissioner Autumn Peltier says her superpower comes from being an Indigenous person. For climate activist Bella Lack, her strength is in her imagination of a better world.

And diversity is so important. The environment is the least diverse sector, bar farming. We must include young activists of colour in the climate conversation, writes Sumaiyah Shahid.

Poppy Stowell-Evans points out that to choose to be a climate activist is also a privilege. “That’s not a choice for Indigenous people. Either they are activists or their livelihoods – quite literally – will wash down the drain.”

There is so much to learn from young people. Making space at the table for youth provides real value. CIWEM’s early-careers network aims to integrate fresh perspectives across the institution. Why not join us?

Help us to celebrate early-career professionals’ impacts, nominating yourself or a colleague to become this year’s Young Environmentalist of the Year.

It’s time to pass the mic.

The Youth Takeover 2022 youth editors are: Awa Ndiaye, Chloe Goode, Flora Duff, Katie Bishop, Sophia-Harri Nicholaou and Megan Barnes


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