At this point in time, most educated youth are well aware of the impacts that climate change has - and will have - on the world and their future. This is one of the reasons why the People's Climate March was so successful. Today's generation "gets" it. What youth want now are real options. Something to do. Something to work on. Below, Kate Wheldrake, an Australian medical student, clearly articulates her generation's desire to be active. Climate for Health leaders are professionals from every corner of the health sector, ranging from doctors to nonprofit directors to professors and mental health experts. Each one of these professionals has been a student, looking forward on their career paths. Each one of these leaders was once following. Let's take advantage of a generation who is calling out to engage with us. We can do this by giving students concrete ways to fold climate discussions into their studies, by incorporating climate impacts into our lessons, and by illustrating the changes we've made in our institutions that improve sustainability. The opportunity to lead on climate is staring us in the face.
By Kate Wheldrake I Sep 09, 2015
Young people know the cost of climate change – they will be paying it their entire lives
My generation needs no convincing of the need to take urgent action on climate change. We have studied the basic science, and we have understood the need for technological improvements to enable our economies to transition away from fossil fuels.
We have joined the climate marches; taken action in our schools and universities; met our MPs. We have even sued our governments when they fail to take effective action. On the whole, our frustration and (yes) anger has grown at the lack of significant commitment to change. After all, the current crop of politicians will be long dead but we will still be around, and so will our children, when the major effects of climate change are felt.
Into this environment of pessimism, the recent Lancet Commission’s report on climate and health provides a heartening alternative. Instead of only focussing on the gloomy predictions of environmental and human catastrophe, the report describes how action on climate change can lead to better health for us all. This message of hope resonates particularly with younger people.
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