We stand as one: Children, young people and climate change

“I care about my future and my friends’ future.”

Ektemel, Year 10, Parramatta, Sydney.

The youth of the world want action on climate change now.

This is what hundreds of young people across the globe told us as part of the 'We stand as one: children, young people and climate change' report released in partnership with youth organisations Oaktree and Australian Youth Climate Council.

“We are young Australians, and we are confused and frustrated. Why does our government refuse to take climate change seriously when, as a country, we have the capacity to do it?

Young people like us are rarely invited to have their voice heard on things that matter. We are described as having potential, as though our power to bring about change lies dormant.

We are proclaimed as being our world’s future, as though we don’t exist in the present. We are handed platitudes in exchange for our patience. But climate change won’t wait for our generation to grow up and take action. Change needs to happen now and we will have a say in what our current and future world looks like.”

This is an extract from a letter written by our youth ambassadors. Importantly, young people were deeply involved with all phases of the report, in the decision to focus on climate change, in the consultations here and abroad, and in the writing of the report itself. Some of the youth we consulted were already experiencing the effects of climate change in their home country.

“We have to live with disasters influenced by climate change every day.”

Marinel, 21, climate change activist in the Philippines.

HT Sang 14 Vietnam
HT Sang, 14, Vietnam
Kiran, 15, Nepal
Kiran, 15, Nepal
Monique, 15, The Philippines
Monique, 15, The Philippines
Prinsika, 16, Nepal
Prinsika, 16, Nepal
Rabin, 15, Nepal
Rabin, 15, Nepal
Wena, 12, The Philippines
Wena, 12, The Philippines

Ensuring children and young people have a voice when it comes to their futures and role in society now is fundamental to our work.

The report found that 91% of young Australians believe their government is not doing enough to tackle climate change. The report also revealed young Australians are particularly concerned about the impact climate change is having on people their age in the developing world.

You can read the report below or download a copy here.

Building safe and resilient communities against disaster and climate change

At Plan International Australia we’re working with communities to ensure they’re equipped to reduce the risk of disasters and climate change.

We have the opportunity to work with young people to give them the tools they need to create safer, healthier communities.

In west and east Jakarta, finding safe and environmentally sound ways to dispose of garbage has become a huge problem. The result has seen drainage systems and canals filling with solid waste, leading to flooding during the rainy seasons.

This increase in flooding has served as a breeding ground for mosquitos, increasing incidences of malaria and dengue fever. It’s also resulted in an unhealthy, unhygienic environment, increasing the risk of diarrhea and other water-borne diseases.

Plan International Australia was able to provide solid waste management training to youth ambassadors to help young people and others in the community manage the massive solid waste problem. The program also taught young people the skills to help generate income through recycling local waste. The young people involved were encouraged to campaign to implement a waste management process for disposing of and collecting garbage in the neighborhood, including using bio-degradable waste for urban farming.

The result is a cleaner, healthier environment and a reduction in the risk of flooding. The community has also seen the economic benefit, with the use of compost helping the young people and others in the community up-skill in urban farming to provide fresh food. The project has also helped to instill a sense of civic responsibility for the community to keep their own environment clean.

Waste management training, Indonesia

Waste management training, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Doing our bit

We care about the environment, and take responsibility for our environmental footprint here in Australia. We’ve implemented the following activities that will either reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, or enhance our capacity to do so:

  • De-lamping excess office lights
  • Purchase of carbon neutral electricity by switching our electricity to Powershop
  • Using software to automatically shut down computers
  • Adding additional organic kitchen bins throughout the office
  • Only storing electronic copies of invoices
  • Inclusion of environmental performance in the annual report
  • Reducing the number of printed copies of our annual report
  • Providing re-usable coffee cups for staff to purchase at cost
  • Placing energy-efficient behavior-change posters in our office

We undertake an emissions inventory each year and are committed to transparent reporting. While our expansion in our work overseas has seen more staff travel, and a subsequent increase in emissions, our efficiency per ‘full time-equivalent’ (FTE) – an employee or contractor who works in our office full time –  has improved. For this reason we’ve included the results on a per FTE basis.

Emissions

Read our full environmental report.

Climate change has a significant impact on the work we do. For this reason we are committed to continuing our work with young people and within our own office to reduce the devastating threat that climate change poses to children and young people around the world.