(302) 703-7086

Danielle Keenan

Archmere Academy
Youth Climate Action

The youth in the world and more specifically in Delaware have been put in the position to advocate and take action to prevent climate change. The United Nations describes climate change and its causes as “Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. Such shifts can be natural, due to changes in the sun’s activity or large volcanic eruptions. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.” Climate change has become a more apparent issue in the last coming years with temperatures and sea levels on the rise. More specifically in Dover, Delaware, the temperature is expected to rise to a low mean of 3.6 degrees and a high mean of 7.69 degrees. (State of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control) With climate change being so real and actively affecting Delaware it puts into perspective how important it is for people to stop it from progressing. This does not mean imminent doom but it should be a call to action for individuals especially youth to take steps to prevent further degradation of the environment in Delaware and the world. It is so vital for the youth to take action because climate change will affect their generation more than any other. Also, this new generation has shown that they are not afraid to inspire and advocate for change. The United Nations describes this enthusiasm as “Young people’s unprecedented mobilization around the world shows the massive power they possess to hold decision-makers accountable. Their message is clear: the older
generation has failed, and it is the young who will pay in full — with their very futures.” So the question is not why youth should prevent climate change but how they are going to do it. They can enact change to prevent climate change by following these steps. The first step that youth in Delaware can use to enact change in the climate is through education. Climate education helps the youth to be better equipped to act to fight climate change individually and together to advocate for change. Renee Cho, a contributor to the Columbia Climate School talks about the necessity of climate education as “Young people recognize that climate change is going to shape their futures— where they live, the work they will do, and their quality of life. They need climate education in order to develop green skills, adapt to the harsh reality of a warming world, and understand how to combat climate change. But they need to learn the basics of climate change before they can do anything about it.” Youth standing up for establishing education in Delaware schools to teach kids and teens about climate change will better their knowledge on the topic and help them teach others. Education should not be limited to
teens teaching teens but also education should be pushed to adults as well. Pew Research Center, self- described as an unbiased center for facts, concludes their research on climate change public opinion with different generations as “Younger generations in the U.S. are especially likely to express an interest in addressing climate change – and to say they have personally taken some kind of action to do so.” So youth should focus on educating adults as well. This will help bills and other changes to be made in Delaware faster since the majority of gen z can’t vote for these to be passed. With youth having access to education they can advocate and debate for changes with certainty that what they are saying is correct and
is based on facts. If teens learn more about the climate and how it will affect them later it will create interest in the subject. This knowledge can also be used to motivate the youth to talk about these issues and inspire them to make their voices heard. The United Nations backs this by saying that “Education empowers all people, but especially motivates the young to take action.” With education on the climate
crisis, youth will be able to educate other teens or adults and be motivated to actively take action. The second step in acting on climate change is fostering groups of youth with a shared interest in the environment. With more youth educated on the topic of the climate and resulting with more youth
interested in the topic they can start to join together. Students can form clubs at school focusing on the
environment. Or on a bigger scale, Delaware can have a joint effort of youth ready to combat climate change. This can be a large-scale group or association consisting of teens concerned with climate change. These can be school clubs united under one name that can help the environment in Delaware using their joined resources. This can be selecting students from different schools to do volunteer work for the
environment. This can help connect the youth in Delaware under a shared interest and with more people taking action the more serious change we will see. With a connected group to support change, the movement can grow. Climate Generation, a group with the mission of spreading climate knowledge states “The more people you involve in climate solutions, the more your impact multiplies.” Also with aconnected stream of individuals, information regarding Delaware’s impact on the climate can be easilyspread to others in the community.

The final step in acting on climate change is activism. Individuals and local groups are vital to attacking climate change globally. The United Nations predicts that “Policies currently in place point to a 2.8°C temperature rise by the end of the century. Implementation of the current pledges will only reduce this to a 2.4-2.6°C temperature rise by the end of the century, for conditional and unconditional pledges respectively. ” This is why Delaware’s impact is so important and with the knowledge on how to combat climate change and the connected resources to act on that change, youth in Delaware can take action. Action that can be taken in Delaware is to help introduce legislation that can affect our environmental impact. Or destroying legislation that harms the Delaware environment. This can be enacted through protests or it can be promoted online. Other solutions can be creating petitions for bills to be passed or just contacting local officials. Activism is also important, recognizing these issues and telling others about them can make a huge effect on awareness. The University of Nevada explains why activism matters “Environmental activism can bring important attention to serious issues, mobilizing others to use their voices — and their votes — to influence political leaders. Activists can also help shape environmental
legislation.” These small acts can make a further impact when conducted by a large connected group. Ultimately youth in Delaware can enact environmental change through education, creating environmental-focused groups, and activism. By educating teens they are better ready for actively
attacking climate change. Also, climate change-educated teens can educate other teens and adults on the subject furthering the message. Another step youth can take is to create environmental groups so that together they can take action to prevent climate change. The last step is using the knowledge from education and the resources from coming together to be activists. Even if Delaware may be a small state these small actions can result in great effects. If Delaware creates some of these never before seen laws it can start a chain reaction of other states also passing similar bills. The youth should not continue to be underestimated because they are going to make a huge impact on the world.