BLOG: Young people still want climate action

This blog by Paige Gallone, a Youth Coach and Youth of Today board member at Groundwork North East & Cumbria, explores young people’s perspectives on climate change one year on from COP26. Paige wrote the foreword for Groundwork’s 2021 report Youth in a Changing Climate.

Climate change is still such an important, relevant topic to me and other young people. A year on from the UK hosting COP26 , climate change remains such an important issue that is facing not only young people, but the whole world.

I personally feel that, although climate change is still an important matter, the current cost of living and energy crisis is currently at the top of young people’s minds. That is what we are spending the most time worrying about. Our youth board, the Youth of Today, recently did a survey of our members to see what current issues are affecting them most. When the results came in the cost-of-living crisis was at the top of the list, however climate change still followed closely behind that. I feel that many young people are worried that the current cost of living/economic crisis will shift the focus from action on the climate crisis.

Local impacts

One of the most noticeable climate related issues currently is the weather. This summer saw huge heatwaves and with winter approaching the current weather is very worrying – we are having warmer autumns compared to previous years where we would get snow. We are seeing climate change in full force. I think this is one of the main changes young people are noticing right now.

I feel very strongly about the effect climate change has on our wildlife. Living locally to Durham I have personally seen the impact it is having on local wildlife such as the bats that live in the cathedral. The summer days being hotter and dryer than usual it is affecting insects, meaning bats are out during the day and finding themselves grounded and dehydrated which can be fatal for them. When most think of animal extinction we automatically think polar bears and ice caps but to see the effects within your own hometown is extremely worrying and I know other young people share the same concerns as myself.

Looking to the future

Overall, the climate crisis is still heavy on young people’s minds, and it causes mass anxiety with many of us worried about what the future will look like. I feel like although the cost-of-living crisis needs to be addressed we still need to look at the bigger picture of taking action against climate change and saving our planet. Young people would still like the people in power to take immediate action, as we fear it is our future that is in crisis and our voices are still not heard.

You can read Paige’s foreword and what young people told us about climate change last year in Youth in a Changing Climate.