Last September, around 400 young people from all over the world voiced their actions and aspirations about climate change at Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition (Pre-COP 26 Youth Event). It is an international forum that was held ahead of COP 26 (Conference of the Parties), an international conference held by the United Nations that will bring together world leaders to discuss their actions and commitment to tackle climate change. Climate Youth Activist Greta Thunberg also attended this event and made a phenomenal criticism for world leaders that went viral on the internet. Besides that, Indonesia also sent its youth representatives to this event, Steven Setiawan and Damayanti Prabasari.
Ahead of Youth Pledge Day, Steven Setiawan and Damayanti Prabasari shared their experiences with youth environmentalists in Bandung in an interactive discussion called “Cengkerama Iklim.” This event was held by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry on 18 October 2021 at Dago Giri, West Bandung. This interactive discussion was a hybrid event that combines in-person and virtual participation.
As a speaker of this event, Damayanti Prabasari told the participants that there are several points of recommendation that young people made in Youth4Climate. These recommendations were classified into four working groups: youth driving ambition which promotes youth participation in climate action, promoting sustainable recovery, promoting non-state actors’ engagement, and building a climate-conscious society. However, at the time, the final document of these recommendations was not available yet.
Building a climate-conscious society is the most-discussed issue in this discussion because young people, particularly those who live in urban areas, are becoming more disconnected to nature. Hence, it is difficult for them to get a sense of connection with nature and understand the natural phenomena around them. Steven Setiawan, who also came as a speaker, stated that education and media play critical roles in building a climate-conscious society, especially among young people.
Promoting climate education is one of the points of recommendation made by youth representatives in Youth4Climate. Climate education should use a holistic approach and integrate local or indigenous knowledge as well as gender perspectives. Government can support climate education by incorporating it into the National Curriculum. Recently, Nadiem Makarim, as the Minister of Education and Culture of Indonesia, stated that science and social subjects in the school curriculum should focus on climate change issues. This support gives a new optimism for climate education in Indonesia.
Aside from education, media is also equally important in promoting a climate-conscious society. Steven argued that the media have done a good job in spreading the news about the natural disaster caused by climate change. However, journalists also need to add information about mitigation and adaptation practices that can be done by society.
Instead of improving climate change awareness, fear mongering on climate change makes young people feel anxious and hopeless. This phenomenon is also commonly known as climate anxiety. A new survey of 10.000 young people in 10 countries shows that 60% of young people are extremely anxious about climate change. It proves that news reports on climate change can cause a psychological impact on young people. Therefore, it is necessary to spread information about preventative action that can be done by society to give them optimism in combating climate change.
As an agent of change, we can do something to fight against the climate crisis. We can prevent climate change both with individual or collective action. At the individual level, we can do something for our mother earth by starting to live more eco-friendly such as reducing our waste production and carbon footprint from our daily lives. At the communal level, we can join an environmental organization, sign petitions about climate change, and advocate a better environmental policy by expressing our voices to policymakers.
Written by Siti Aisyah Novitri
Hickman, C. et al. Preprint at http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/
Nadiem Makarim Usulkan Pelajaran IPA Difokuskan untuk Pelajari Isu Perubahan Iklim. Liputan6.com. 20 Oktober 2021. Diakses dari https://www.liputan6.com/news/read/