Our planet is our home. A world unlike any other and the place that sustains us. But are we living in harmony with the nature? Humanity is in an interdependent relationship with the nature, and if we all help a little bit, we can keep the Earth safe for the next generation and just like a cycle, in turn, they have to fight and make it safe for the generation after as well.
The past decades have revealed significant triumphs of environmental protection, but also notable failures, which have led to the continuous deterioration of the Earth’s natural systems.
The climate changes, but what does this mean?
Climate change is bad, posing a massive threat to the future of life on Earth.
All our oceans suffer from pollution, forests are shrinking, deserts expanding, coral reefs bleaching. Almost half of the terrestrial surface of the Earth has been transformed by urbanization and the most astounding part is that human beings are completely unaware of this situation. Literally, we are running out of time.
The scale of the challenges threatening our planet can seem daunting, especially now that the climate changes have raised high levels of uncertainty about our future, but we can all do something.
The world is home to 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 to 24, meaning that youths constitute the majority of the population in many countries and have an increasingly strong social and environmental awareness, as stakeholders in the sustainability debate. They have the potential to make a difference, whether through small actions, or longer initiatives.
Engaging youths in the environmental protection, not only has a direct impact on changing their behaviors and attitudes, but also influences the future of the society. Because youths have a stronger awareness of the current issues and a greater stake in long-term sustainability, the environment is one of the areas in which they ought to take the lead. They bring unique perspectives that need to be taken into account, so we need more youth organizations to empower them to take a stand and enhance effective participation in climate change.
Currently, the participation of youth appears to be formalized more extensively in international governmental organizations, than at the national level.
Youth participation through governmental and non-governmental organizations is important, but there is place for other kinds of youth actions and activism as well. Environmentalism has many roots—in scientific concern for the well-being of resources and ecosystems, in philosophical reflections about nature, in concerns about public health, and in initiatives oriented towards providing outdoor recreational opportunities.
Certainly, there are possibilities for youth participation in practical environmental projects, which are not only political. They have to be part of the solution, not of the pollution.
Environmental education plays an important role in combating climate changes and turning cities and human settlements into safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable havens. A look at the existing state of environmental education indicates that in most countries, it has grown steadily in recent years, but not enough. Regarding this aspect, Romania, as a member of the United Nations and the European Union, has adopted the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This strategy is citizen-centered and focuses on innovation, optimism, resilience, and the belief that the role of the state is to serve the needs of each citizen in a fair, efficient, and balanced manner, all within a clean environment.
In other words, improving education, human and institutional capacities on climate change, impact reduction and early warning resilience to climate and natural disaster risks in all countries, represent the main objectives.
Learning by doing is very important and through participation in environmental projects such as planting a tree, conserving water, shopping wisely, using long-lasting light bulbs, volunteering for cleanups in the community and last, but not least, reducing, reusing, recycling, can play an important role for the environment.
Therefore, we should all make greater and more concerted efforts to promote a larger process of social learning for sustainable development.