Young People as Transformative Citizens Fighting Climate Change

Young People as Transformative Citizens Fighting Climate Change

Meredian Alam (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3677-3.ch010
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Abstract

The government of Indonesia has launched environmental policies to address the risks of climate change at the national to local levels and involves all elements of development: economy and business, education, environment and forestry, and transportation. In fact, behavioral change is seen as unsustainable, particularly in people's everyday lives. As this problem emerges, Indonesian young people through youth-led environmental organizations hold environmental activities to alternatively introduce and educate communities and schools to recognize and identity climate change impacts. The author then presents two successful youth organizations: Greenpeace Youth Indonesia (GYI) and the Indonesian Students Climate Forum (ICSF). GYI's actions are more stirred with Greenpeace's ideology, which focuses on direct campaigns, protest, and young activist mobilization, while ICSF's repertoires for mitigating climate changes are more community schools-based educational outreach. Although both of them are distinct in nature, their works have been transformative and applicable.
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Introduction: Towards Civic Participation By Young People

Human-induced climate change unfortunately has put Indonesia in a critical situation with events such as debilitating forest fires leading to unprecedented smoke haze in the northern Sumatran Islands and unbearably hot annual temperatures (Bohensky et al, 2016; Caruso, Petrarca, and Ricciuti 2016 et al). Bearing this severity in mind, Indonesia has joined with global forces to demonstrate its political support for addressing global climate change through coordinated national action. A pledge to combat deforestation has been enshrined in the REDD+ (Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Treaty with Norway in 2011, which affirms Indonesia’s commitment to the international agenda to reduce climate change risks (Enrici & Hubacek, 2018). Glover and Schroeder (2017) highlight that in 2017 Indonesia hosted a United Nations Conference on climate change, marking the first step in showcasing its responsibility in this time of climate crisis. Bonal and Fontdevila (2017) argue that education was established as a catalyst to foster changes and the government accordingly ratified the United Nation’s Education for Sustainable Development program (ESD) (see also Grierson and Munro, 2018). Following on from these trajectories, Indonesia has established itself in the international climate change hierarchy to actively create improvements in environmental management. However, the role of young people is also essential for the country’s future but their actions are not sufficiently acknowledged.

This paper investigates the concerns of youth organizations and collective environmental activists to confront climate change that could affect their future lives. Moreover, the ways they mobilize action and show concern about climate change is significant to examine how such activities can facilitate the new arrival of their social identities. The presentation of young people amidst the climate change issue through diverse socio-political participation in environmental organizations will also be investigated. Accordingly, this paper will explore and respond to the following overarching issues.

Climate change has had an unprecedented impact on ecosystems. Pervasive environmental depletion, such as water scarcity, uncontrolled pollution, biodiversity extinction and waste contamination are detrimental to the quality of life of the general population (Desai & Goel, 2018). Today’s youth are the group that is notably impacted by climate events. Kim (2012) points out that prolonged drought, an increase in CO2 - causing unpredictable atmospheric heating - and even a decline in water supply has put young people at a greater risk of declining employment opportunities and the withdrawal from political participation, as they no longer have access to resources for boosting their development. Many young people face future misfortune and a higher risk of unhealthy living conditions and social exclusion (Hansen, 2008). Young people in the global south are particularly at risk of poverty since climate change can threaten their future wellbeing and sustainable human development. By looking closely at what young people can advocate to avert this potential crisis due to environmental problems, we can see that people aged 15–26 actually have a strategic role in advancing more feasible and sustainable development (Mokwena, 2007).

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