Children Front and Centre of Climate Action
“Talk less and act more, the world needs help’ (Emmanuel, aged 16, Brazil). Climate change is happening now, and is threatening the realisation of children’s rights and their ability to achieve their full potential. Children and young people across the planet have expressed their desire to fully participate in the debate on the climate change crisis and support in the development of solutions. Children and young people are concerned about the negative impact of greenhouse gas emissions, and seek to hold governments and multilateral organisations accountable to their duty to protect the planet from global warming. However, to date, their calls have only received intermittent attention. The world has seen a surge in activism and participation on climate change from children at a grassroots level but this is not always reflected in policy decisions. This research aims to give policy-makers further evidence of children and young people’s views on climate change and their desire for action.
World Vision sees children and young people as rights-holders and agents of change who are capable of expressing their views and proposing strategies to make a change in their communities and countries. In order to explore how children and young people associated with World Vision programmes understand and perceive climate change, World Vision conducted a research study to capture children and young people’s ideas on how they wanted to engage in climate action. We spoke to 121 children and young people (74 girls and 47 boys) between the ages of 10 and 17 years from 12 countries: Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Kenya, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Romania.
Their responses showed that children and young people are well aware of climate change, and are able to articulate this concept and describe the impact of climate change on their communities. Most of the respondents noted that climate change is affecting their communities and is therefore not an alien problem. Most children and young people also self-reported a high level of acceptance of scientific facts, such as global warming being due to greenhouse gas emissions, and demonstrated a recognition that climate change is a human-driven phenomenon. The perception of risk associated with climate change was high across all respondents, who viewed extreme weather changes as proof of the damage it is inflicting on the environment, demonstrated through increased temperatures, floods, droughts, wildfires and erosion, amongst others.