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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Europe provides financial support to African countries while Turkey denies to change terrorism laws jeopardising the EU deal

“Be aware where you put your I Agree signature on and something else”; now Facebook by default opts you in an unseen private data bazar

Ukrainian civil war: Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Will the French let Macron destroy their party political system?

MWC 2016 LIVE: Stripe gives payments leg-up to startups in emerging markets

Zhua Zhou: Choosing The Future

Merkel’s triumph will make Berlin more unbending

“Hasta la vista” Google says to Spain and now Europe is next?

Alexis Tsipras ready to test Eurozone’s political sturdiness; Up to what point?

Press coverage of migration crisis in Europe: a call for collaborative action

G20 LIVE: The European Sting covers online world news and the latest developments at G20 from Antalya Turkey

Mario Draghi didn’t do it but Kim Jong-un did

The EU Commission by serving the banks offers poor support to European mainstream political parties

What options the new President of Ukraine has?

EU Parliament says ‘no’ to austerity budget

Parliament toughens its position on banking union

Alexandre in Czech Republic

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

American negotiators can’t pay for their trip to Brussels, EU-US trade agreement freezes

The European Commission cuts roaming charges. But “it’s not enough”…

Can one FTA and 110 lobby meetings make the dirty oil clean in Europe?

A day that Berlin and Brussels would remember for a long time

Who is responsible for public health? The tendencies and its benefits –or not– on Health Education around the world

China’s stock markets show recovery signs while EU is closely watching in anticipation of the €10bn investment

Europe must regain its place as world leader in digital technology

EU: Protecting victims’ rights from cartels and market abuses

Not much of a help the new EU Directive on pensions

Merry Christmas from Erdogan, Putin, Mogherini and the Polish firefighter

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

A Sting Exclusive: “Youth voice must be heard in climate change negotiations!”, Bérénice Jond Board Member of European Youth Forum demands from Brussels

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

The Franco-German axis considers that all EU needs now is more armaments

Eurozone dignitaries play with people’s life savings

Access to healthcare: what do we lack?

Advocate General ‘outlaws’ Data Retention Directive

The EU slowly exits from “Excessive Deficit Procedure” and hopefully from ‘Excessive Austerity Procedure’ too

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

Catalan Pro-Independence vote: how many hits can Brussels sustain at the same time?

Lithuania should find its own way in the EU

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

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

EU Parliament: It takes real banks to fight unemployment and recession

What the US and the world can expect from the 8 November election?

Hardened creditors drive Greece to dire straits; Tsipras desperate for an agreement

Let’s Learn

Only the Americans are unhappy with the ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine

Landmark EU Parliament – ECB agreement on bank supervision

A young student discusses the determinants of migration in the European Union

Breaking news on European Youth Employment: European Youth Forum Guide tackles poor quality internships!

Can China deal with climate change without the U.S.?

Solitary Britain sides with US aggressing Russia and chooses hard Brexit

A Year in China

The Banking Union divides deeply the European Union

EU threatens Japan to suspend FTA negotiations if…

The EU Parliament endorses tax on financial transactions

France and Poland to block David Cameron’s plans on immigration

How to provide health education and thus create better health systems

ECOFIN: Protecting bankers and tax-evaders

Bureaucracy in the member states again the obstacle for long due strong European Hedge Funds

Why France, Italy and the US press Germany to accept a cheaper euro and pay for Greece

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s