The most frequent problem faced today by young men and women who disagree with the policies implemented to deal with climate change is that no matter how much they react, they are not heard. Although they use all the tools at their disposal to provoke the interest of national climate authorities, such as protests, cultural events, information campaigns and actions, it seems that it is not enough. As a result they seek additional forms of support.
Like ActionAid’s Center in Thessaloniki, which not only participates but also plans and implements awareness programs, workshops and participatory activities for anyone and everyone who wants to act on the climate change. One such program is “YOU.th RO.und TRIP. for climate action (YOUROTRIP), through which local youth councils from 8 European countries including Greece joined forces and claimed their participation in decision-making processes.
After almost a year, the young people who participated in the program visited the European Parliament in Brussels to present the proposals they created to fight climate change.
Speaking about his experience, Panagiotis says: “All the work we did during the program, the result of which we did not know, was now in my hands to present it and see if it will be heard. It was time to enter the hall and sit at the round table. I represented Greece and analyzed how important it is to have common colors in the waste and recycling bins at the European level and to be accessible to all citizens. The feedback during the presentation was so encouraging. I remember them saying “we want young people to have a voice, to act in public and to have proposals, to present them to the committees and the EU”.
Rafaela, from her side, presented solutions to deal with deforestation and forest destruction. She and her team were particularly concerned with the problems arising from monocultures. “Our proposal to mitigate this problem involved adjusting the way crops are managed through the implementation of mixed crops. This will increase biodiversity, improve soil quality, sequester more carbon dioxide and make crops more productive.”
The members of the European Parliament welcomed and listened to the children with interest. Their recommendations were followed by discussion, exchange of views and ideas for next steps. Regardless of which and how many of these proposals could be adopted in the future, the most important part of “Yourotrip” and other similar programs is raising awareness among young people about the public and trying to find solutions to issues that concern everyone.
The ActionAid Center in Thessaloniki promotes the employability and active participation of young people in the life of the city, through art and volunteering. The aim is through its actions to strengthen the skills of young people, enabling them to play an active role in the cultural, social and economic life of their city, creating the framework for them to become protagonists in a sustainable city.