Human activity has degraded the planet and its ecosystems for centuries, resulting in runaway climate change, the mass extinction of species and now a global pandemic. With the world at an environmental tipping point, young people stand to inherit the catastrophes that stem from the unsustainable practices of the older generations.
Yet a global youth movement around climate change has made it clear that they refuse to be victims of their fate and are pushing to address such global challenges in holistic ways. Young leaders, including students and young professionals, are demanding change toward sustainability and intergenerational equality from current political leaders. By engaging in dialogue, decision-making and action, will they succeed in changing our future?
In a youth-led GLF Live, Amelia Arreguin, regional chapter coordinator for the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) and policy officer for Women4Biodiversity, and Chiagozie Udeh, who sits as a chairperson on the board of Plant-for-the-Planet as well as multiple youth-focused UN constituencies, including YOUNGO, discussed how young people are entering into climate politics and the change they’re incurring therein.
Amelia Arreguín Prado is a specialist in gender and community development who founded and works as the director of Eco Maxei Querétaro AC, a grassroots NGO in Mexico. She also serves as co-coordinator of the Women’s Group of the Convention on Biological Diversity, policy officer for Women4Biodiversity and regional coordinator for the Global Youth Biodiversity Network in Latin America and the Caribbean.
She has been a university lecturer on Research Methodology and Environmental Law, has authored several articles and has been a speaker and organizer of environmental and academic events. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political communication.
Chiagozie Udeh is a Nigerian climate activist. In 2019, he served as the YOUNGO Global South Focal Point of YOUNGO, the Youth Constituency to the UNFCCC, where he facilitated meaningful global youth engagement in international climate change processes and negotiations.
He currently serves as chairperson of the executive global board of Plant-for-the-Planet and champions the Trillion Trees campaign, a flagship program that aims to plant 1 trillion trees by 2030 and reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent through a mobile app. He supports the Plant-for-the-Planet app developers as the Product Manager.
Chiagozie helped create the youth space in intergovernmental processes of renewable energy and now serves as the global focal point for the newly created UN MGCY SDG7 Youth Constituency.