What impact will the youth climate movement have on COP26? | The Stream


For more than three decades, youth climate activists have been lambasting world leaders on their inaction about climate change. Their words have most often fallen on deaf ears and they haven’t been taken seriously, but that is changing.

Filmmaker Slater Jewell-Kemker documents that evolution in her film Youth Unstoppable. From 2008 to 2020 she turned the camera on her friends, and herself, as they attended UN climate conferences, confronted global leaders and connected with other activists from around the world. The momentum of those twelve years has arguably borne fruit today with young climate activists such as Greta Thunberg never more prominent.

The determination of youth activists was on display last month at the Youth4Climate summit in Milan as Thunberg rallied her peers.

“They invite cherry-picked young people to meetings like this to pretend that they listen to us. But they clearly don’t listen to us. Our emissions are still rising … We can no longer let the people in power decide what is politically possible,” she said. “We can no longer let the people in power decide what hope is. Hope is not passive. Hope is not blah, blah, blah. Hope is telling the truth. Hope is taking action.”

Now, as COP26 gets underway in Glasgow, youth will make up an official constituency with a seat at the table. We’ll speak to Slater about her film, the evolution of the youth climate movement and ask what role young people will play in climate policy moving forward.

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