The week from the 2nd to the 8th of November has been the national youth policy week in Finland. Among other things, young people discussed about what a dream municipality looks like. Municipalities decide on many issues that affect the lives of young people directly, such as schools, health care, public transport, libraries and leisure opportunities.
According to the 2018 Youth Barometer, 63.1% of young people are very or somewhat interested in politics. In light of the statistics, claims that politics do not interest youth are nonsense. Youth magazine called Demi, which I red as a teenager myself, now comes with posters stating “There is no planet B” and “Black Lives Matter”. Changing the world is actually cool, and it is done in organizations, schools, and in the close surroundings of young people.
One great example of youth-led change work is the statement of a large group of youth organizations on the the future climate law. The statement calls for the following points to be taken into account in the preparation of the law:
1. The climate law must include a binding obligation for Finland to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and carbon negativity quickly thereafter.
2. The new climate law must follow the mitigation hierarchy of emissions. ( = The mitigation hierarchy is based on the use of compensatory measures only after harm avoidance and reduction.)
3. The new climate law must ensure the participation of young people in climate policy-making.
4. The climate law must guarantee citizens sufficient opportunities for information and participation in decision-making concerning their living environment.
5. The climate law must strengthen the role of the climate panel in Finnish climate policy.
Fortunately, young people also have support in older generations. The new President of the United States, Joe Biden, has announced that he will rejoin the Paris Agreement as soon as possible. There is hope for tackling climate change, as smart and driven young people are demanding it – and some decide to listen.