A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change and youth inaction: oblivion or nonchalance?”, AIESEC wonders from Brussels

Sisekelo Sinyolo.jpg

Sisekelo Sinyolo is the President of AIESEC Belgium

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Sisekelo Sinyolo, President of AIESEC Belgium. 

“Climate change? What do you mean? The weather is the same for me. It’s just a figment of your imagination. It doesn’t affect my day-to-day life, why should I be concerned?”

I can see now with the benefit of hindsight that this would be my view on climate change three years ago. I believe that these thoughts echo in the minds of young people far and wide. The understanding that climate change is real, it is here and it is global in its impact barely exists. At a primal level, we seem to understand that more sustainable patterns of production and consumption at collective and individual levels are needed. Unfortunately, nonchalance hinders us from action.

One thing has become clear: with regard to combatting climate change, procrastination cannot be an option. This phenomenon is a defining feature of the future of today’s youth. Our action cannot be deferred to a later date. Young people need to educate themselves on the actual impact of this trend on their future. At juvenescence, we are undoubtedly the key stakeholders in this fight. We need to be more actively involved in shaping the decisions that relate to climate change as we will feel the impact acutely in the course of our lives.

While governments and policy makers offer solutions, it is also necessary that we tackle climate change sustainably at a human level. If we are to foster a feeling of ownership and responsibility we should start with unequivocal acknowledgement that it our comportment and way of life and the societies in which we live that are ultimately responsible for the emissions that drive climate change.

I have been involved with AIESEC for four years. Our organization strives for peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential. My experience leading to that end have been characterized by a practical learning environment that values self-awareness and being solution oriented. Through these points a young person starts to understand their key contribution to being a global citizen who empowers others. Take for example, Think Green, a project launched over four years ago by AIESEC in Egypt. The main aim was to raise environmental awareness in different communities. It targeted children at primary school level. They grow up with a feeling of ownership for their community.

This and other experiences within AIESEC has led me to envision three levels of participation for young people:

  1. Learning circles
  2. Youth involvement
  3. Collaborative partnerships

Learning circles are interactive and participatory group work whose goal is to “build, share, and express knowledge through a process of open dialogue and deep reflection around issues or problems with a focus on a shared outcome.”

Through these circles, we would be able to exchange ideas on climate change and educate our peers. It would serve as a platform to collect information from young people who potentially care about the environment and future impact and have their perspectives on policy and programs that could be held.

Based on the output of the learning circles, we proceed to the next stage which is youth involvement. This is when we give the opportunity to young people to help set the agenda and contribute to deliberations or influence the course of events. When we are involved at this level, we develop ownership and have commitment to contribute in a meaningful way.

Finally, we proceed to collaborative partnerships. We need to empower young people to be engaged in decision-making processes. Youth need to contribute actively to the solutions of our world’s woes and reach an agreement on how the solutions can be implemented.

One thing is clear, if any initiatives are to be successful beyond measure we need to be more inclusive. We need to give a voice to those who are not often heard. Genuine participation where participants have an equal voice and dialogue is two-sided. And finally, the ideas proposed actually have the possibility to be implemented and bring about a change.

The situation is not dire. Young people who want to make a difference are here. However, they need to have a support system from education institutions, parents and government. They need to have access to the opportunity to bring that difference and the means to achieve. Concurrently, we need to have policies that address and encourage environmentally friendly lifestyles.

A final word to youth: it’s our time. We need to:

Get informed: what is happening in the scientific world pertaining to climate change?

Lead by example: challenge our lifestyle choices. What are the consequences of my behaviors for the environment and society? Do I throw things in the trash? Do I have eco lightbulbs installed at home?

Volunteer: at home, abroad, wherever. We need to be able to devote a part of our time to building that sustainable future and home for our offspring.

Let our voice be heard: give your opinion, advocate for government action and the institutionalization of youth participation in decision-making.

About the author

Sisekelo Sinyolo is the current President of AIESEC in Belgium, a branch of the global AIESEC organization. In his role, he is responsible for managing the vision and coordinating the growth of the 400 members within AIESEC in Belgium. He was born in Zimbabwe and studied Business Administration at the KULeuven Campus Brussels. He is an aspiring youth leader and opinion maker who believes in the active involvement of youth to tackle current world issues.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

CEOs in these countries are more likely to go with their gut

EU’s Mogherini visits Turkey “to step up engagement” and highlight interests

Parliament backs a modernised EU electoral law

EU-US resume trade negotiations under the spell of NSA surveillance

Syria: Civilians caught in crossfire, UN refugee chief urges Jordan to open its border

“China will strive to enhance the performance of economic growth”, President Xi highlights from the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

TTIP 9th Round marked by American disappointment: Will some optimism save this trade agreement?

Cultural diversity can drive economies. Here are lessons from India and South Asia

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change and youth inaction: oblivion or nonchalance?”, AIESEC wonders from Brussels

The EU Commission implicates major banks in cartel cases, threatens with devastating fines

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

Eurozone at risk of home-made deflation and recession

‘Path to peace’ on Korean Peninsula only possible through diplomacy and full denuclearization: US tells Security Council

Our present and future tax payments usurped by banks

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica: MEPs demand action to protect citizens’ privacy

Banks must take bold action to fight climate change. This is how they can do it

EU and India re-open talks over strategic partnership while prepare for a Free Trade Agreement

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

3 natural mysteries that could be explained by quantum physics

UN rights chief denounces Burundi for ‘belligerent and defamatory’ attack on inquiry team

Job automation risks vary widely across different regions within countries

Youth and children in Europe set the new perspectives for the decades to come

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

Nuclear non-proliferation treaty an ‘essential pillar’ of international peace, says UN chief

The G7 should take the lead on ocean targets for 2020

Court of Auditors: EU spending infested with errors well above the materiality threshold of 2%

“Only through energy policy we can trigger competitiveness”. The Sting live from #EBS2015: Energy Union – When will it happen?

The success story of a Chinese investment in the Greek port of Piraeus

Faith can overcome religious nationalism. Here’s how

A day in the life of a refugee: the role of nations and citizens of the world

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

SPB TV @ MWC14: The TV of the Future

“None of our member states has the dimension to compete with China and the US, not even Germany!”, Head of EUREKA Pedro Nunes on another Sting Exclusive

The creative technology and its advancements

Finland must focus on integrating migrant women and their children to boost their contribution to the economy and society

G20 LIVE: “ISIL is the face of evil; our goal is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organisation”, US President Barack Obama cries out from Antalya Turkey

EU citizens disenchanted with Economic and Monetary Union over rising poverty and high unemployment

Hazy ‘breakthrough’ saves PM May, leaves Ireland in limbo: Brexit

India-UN fund gets 22 development projects off the ground in first year

More than one billion people do not have access to electricity. What will it take to get them connected?

The European Internet is not neutral and neither is the Commissioner

The impossible end of the war in Syria

New rules for audiovisual media services approved by Parliament

Facebook has built an AI-based tool that fixes the social network when it crashes

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

MWC 2016 LIVE: T-Mobile US reveals 5G trial plans

Air quality: Commission takes action to protect citizens from air pollution

Digital distrust: We’re losing faith in technology to solve the world’s problems

What lies ahead for the Korean Peninsula?

Chauvinism and xenophobia will lead to global assertiveness and more wars

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

Can Greece’s devastating economy deal with the migration crisis?

UN Human Rights Council resolution on youth and human rights: a step forward for youth rights

A very good morning in European markets

The EU Commission lets money market funds continue the unholy game of banks

How wealthy people transmit this advantage to their children and grand children

UN chief welcomes agreement by rival leaders in South Sudan, as a step towards ‘inclusive and implementable’ peace

Ahead of State of the Union the European Youth Forum highlights lack of action on youth employment

What are the real targets of EU’s efforts to fight tax evasion?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s