Ten years of action: We stand with Generation Change

31st January 2020

As the United Nations launch a Decade of Action, we know that harnessing the power of young people is vital to protecting the planet for generations to come. Raleigh International CEO Julian Olivier explains why.

We have ten years left to save the planet. Scientists around the world agree that if we continue the trajectory we have been on, then by 2030 global temperatures will rise by 1.5 degrees causing irreparable damage to our planet.

These estimations cannot be ignored. Colossal shifts in our climate are already clear to see. Recent fires in Australia have shown us the catastrophic impact of climate change on wildlife and biodiversity, while the scale of devastation caused by cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe last year had a very human cost. As the world faces increasing flooding, drought and desertification brought on by heatwaves, melting glaciers and rising sea levels, the urgent need for climate action could not be clearer.

When the Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015, world leaders and global institutions put on a united front to commit to ending poverty, fighting inequality and addressing the climate emergency by 2030. As a planet we are far from achieving these goals. Many achievements have been made in the last five years, yet climate change is accelerating and social injustice and economic inequality are still rising.

But while leaders dither and the planet struggles under the weight of our changing climate, young people are rising up to stop it. We have all been inspired by the response of young people to the global climate emergency and their dedication to calling time on the practices which harm our planet and the most vulnerable people. They are speaking out about food consumption, they are taking the lead on the plastics revolution, and last year millions stood with Greta Thunberg to call for climate action at the Global Climate Strike.

Young people are standing up for the future because it is their future at stake. They are ready to fight for a greener, fairer and happier vision of our world, and we are ready fight right alongside them.

We stand behind young people to achieve real, tangible and sustainable change. Young people today are global influencers and digital leaders, capable of mobilising powerful action through social media. Most importantly, they are the most socially conscious generation of young people ever. They realise their responsibility to fight for global change and to solve the world’s biggest problems – even though they were inherited from generations before.

This is why we have to listen to them and support them. This year, and over the next decade, we are putting young people around the world front and centre of our projects, consulting them in some of the most crucial decisions of our movement. Through our projects we will provide them the space, the tools and vitally the finance to design and lead environmental campaigns. In Tanzania young people are saying #TomorrowIsTooLate for climate action through a reforestation campaign, in what is the first of a number of environmental campaigns led by young people globally. Connecting young people around the world to develop solutions together, we are supporting them to not only to contribute to the next ten years of the Global Goals, but to the long-term future of our planet. We will leave no young person behind.

We know young people have the power and agency to change the world and are doing it every day. But they cannot do it alone. We are dedicated to supporting their actions, to amplifying their voices and magnifying their campaigns. Because only when we work together can we achieve the Global Goals and a better and more sustainable world for everyone.

Related blog posts