Generation Z is leading the battle for climate justice.
They have made their voices heard, loud and clear. Driven to redress the unequal distribution of environmental costs and benefits of the world, this generation continues to inspire hope for a greener future.
Zoomers are committed to environmental concerns, and their passion to have a positive impact on the environment is what links many Gen Zers. This generation is not choosing environmental causes to evade mankind, but rather, they understand that humans are the cornerstone to rescue the environment. Some of the most critical environmental concerns that Generation Z care about include:
According to the 2019 Amnesty International survey, climate change is the most pressing concern for Generation Z. While the previous generations may escape the incoming extreme droughts, the massive rise of sea levels, and shock waves, individuals of Generation Z will be around to witness the severe effects of climate change. And, understandably, Gen Z would be concerned about climate change to avert the potentially disastrous consequences of global warming.
Pollution has many negative societal repercussions in addition to speeding up climate change. A study by OECD reveals that pollution would result in an increase in premature deaths worldwide by 2050. There are insufficient places to conceal our pollution. According to an article by myDr, the hazardous pollution particles could well account for up to 4000 extra fatalities per year in China. The awareness of health hazards potentially passing down from generation to generation has alarmed the Gen Z lot, driving them to fight pollution and focusing on the importance of preserving the earth for the generations to come.
Recycling is yet another environmental issue that stimulates the concerns of the Gen Z population— a critical element of strategically conserving the planet and reducing carbon footprints. Gen Zers believe that effective recycling practice will lead to more green spaces in the future, one where consumers will be able to easily repurpose items over disposing of them to get new replacements. Reflecting on the poll statistics by Fuse, it is crystal clear that Zoomers are willing to take a strong stand for environmental and social concerns to promote the causes they value.
The cries of concern taken to the streets and social media, protesting the brutality against the environment testify to the power of the young people and prove their commitment to their future. The rapid and substantial adaptations of the world in light of the ongoing COVID19 pandemic serve as further proof that change is feasible.
This younger generation consisting of individuals born between 1995 and 2012 has a lot to teach the rest of us. In the interest of protecting the planet and providing the next generation’s the green environment they rightfully deserve, we must empower the Gen Zs by supporting their march for change.
There's no doubting that Gen Z contemporaries are a formidable force, who aren’t attempting to change the world but are already doing it— taking the front-line in the war against environmental degradation. They are willing to acknowledge a drastic environmental transformation and nothing less. The unrivaled, unifying stand of the Zoomers amid the catastrophes of this magnitude reveals a beacon that will illuminate throughout the coming generations.
Take a look at these five Gen Zs whose actions are a reflection of courage and bravery, demonstrating that young people may embody the best of humanity.
Kallan Benson | USA
Kallan Benson is a national coordinator for Fridays For Future (FFF) and co-director of co-directs Parachutes for the Planet. She received Amnesty International's 2019 Ambassador of Conscience Award for her work as the co-director of Parachutes For the Planet and in the Fridays For Future (FFF) movement. Benson’s tackle against climate culminated in a widespread movement with approximately 140 weekly strike communities around the country in less than a year. Benson was the group's spokesman when they turned down the UN's Champions of the Earth award in the year 2019. “We understand the Champions of the Earth award is a great honor, but we cannot accept it. Instead, we offer to hold it for you to earn.”- Kallan Benson.
John Paul Jose | India
John Paul Jose is a young environmentalist and climate activist from Delhi, India. As one of India's Fridays For Future youth leaders in 2018, John set out to uncover what actions India's lawmakers were taking to address the climate catastrophe. He has direct personal experience with the climate effects and ecological damage as he comes from an agricultural household that depends on the environment for survival. John became involved in activism and conservation as a result of his early exposure and passion for nature. John has worked with Greenpeace and served on the board of Irregular Labs, a Gen-Z think tank. He also serves on the Youth Forum of the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) and the UNEP Working Group on Marine Litter and Plastics. “We are the last generation that can do something, we can no longer pretend nothing is happening.”- John Paul Jose.
Jerome Foster II | USA
Jerome Foster II is a high school climate activist and the founder and executive director of youth voting organization, OneMillionOfUs. Frustrated by how little people know about the climate problems, at the age of 15, he decided to create an internet platform that lay out the facts. This led to the birth of the Climate Reporter, a youth-led global news website devoted to environmental awareness. If that isn’t inspiring enough, Foster II is a government intern, website developer, and writer. Along with educating the people about environmental impacts through his blogs (and his team of writers), he is also a gifted computer programmer, developing virtual reality experiences for people to see firsthand the effects of environmental catastrophe. Foster II also coordinates and leads student rallies in front of the White House in Washington, DC. “I strike because world governments don’t act. I strike because we must. We must show them what real action looks like.”- Jerome Foster II.
Lilly Platt | The Netherlands
Lilly Platt is a Youth Ambassador for the Plastic Pollution Coalition and a Child Ambassador for HOW Global and World Cleanup Day. The 13-year-old environmentalist has collected over 100,000 bits of plastic throughout the years. Lilly Platt is dedicated to removing plastic from the environment and devotes the majority of her time to spreading awareness and encouraging others to join the cause. Platt conducts beach clean-ups, delivers school talks, and maintains an active social media presence where she encourages people to act against plastic pollution. Beyond plastic waste campaigns, Platt also supports Indigenous rights, climate change, and wildlife protection. “I spread awareness and encourage youth to find their green heart” - Lilly Platt.
Anuna De Wever | Belgium
Anuna De Wever is the co-founder of the School Strike for Climate movement, Belgium. She leads climate change movements with her fellow student Kyra, in which many women are involved in the battle against environmental issues. She was one of the activists who participated in the UN Climate Change Conference in 2019. Ever since Anuna began her appeal for addressing climate change, she has worked on a climate strategy for Belgium with over 100 scientists. Anuna De Wever and fellow student Kyra Gantois were awarded the 69th Ark Prize of the Free Word in May 2019. “The government has a gigantic role in climate change, and if they keep putting money in the big industries, it doesn’t matter if we all take short showers or eat less meat because they need to do their part and it is the biggest part.”- Anuna De Wever.
While the older generation (and many before them), are responsible for creating the climate crisis, fueled by society’s greed and desire for convenience, instant gratification, and power. Gen Z is taking a stand; Not only are they demanding immediate and effective change, but they are creating it. Young activists, environmentalists, leaders and individuals across the world are actively working towards the design and creation of a socially and environmentally just system for all. Talking the talk as well as walking the walk, this generation is making a difference.