Youth At COP 27: The Importance of Young Voices

The Conference of the Parties Meeting (COP) 27 was held in Egypt from November 16 to 18, and as delegates discussed courses of action for climate change, youth made their own voices heard in the negotiating rooms as they emphasized the importance of youth voices. COP 27 highlighted events can be found on the UN’s and Children & Youth Pavillion’s official Youtube Channels. 

COP’s global summit meetings brings together numerous countries around the world in hopes to take monumental steps toward confronting climate change. This year’s climate agenda at COP 27 consists of finding who is paying for the consequences of climate change, issues involving loss of damage, and urging country’s governments to go through with their climate pledges prior in COP 26. 

Among the many programs that have happened so far, on November 10, a Youth and Future Generation Day was held. This gave young people the opportunity to share their stories, urge the COP 27 presidency to take action, and urge youth to be a part of their climate initiative. 

A tweet by World Youth Forum spokesperson Sarah Badr said, “Young people are the cornerstone in every nation’s developments and only through their perspectives can the transformation of each journey be achieved.” Badr puts into perspective the importance of youth voices in the fight of climate change, but also other issues that are affecting the world.

Youth will be the most affected by climate change, making them the most important allies in the fight against it. Their climate actions have become more prominent in media than ever, through local protests and projects. Climate activists here at the Poly Green Schools campaign (PGC) have put in their own efforts in the climate crisis, urging LBUSD to transition into renewable energy and for city leaders to act previously in May 2021.

Many other young activists have spoken out on climate change, and some, like 15-year-old Sophia Mathur and 14-year-old Leah Namwugera, shared speeches at COP 27.

Namwugera had first hand experience on the consequences of climate change in Uganda, and said during COP 27’s opening that, “At 14 years old, I saw landslides killing so many people because of harsh weather conditions. These images have disturbed me, and not allow me to rest until something has been done about the change in climate.”

Irregular weather patterns and temperatures have caused many people to suffer as Namwugera did. Long Beach residents have had a glimpse of what this feels like through the record-high temperatures earlier in October – a heatwave that Poly students had to endure in primarily non-air conditioned classrooms. 

Besides this heat, flooding and rising water levels may also become more common in Long Beach if climate change becomes critical, but youth here at Poly and Long Beach have the opportunity to change this.

Through local programs like the recently implemented Youth Climate Corps, students can support the Long Beach Climate Action and Adaption Plan through public service positions and projects.Those who are passionate about speaking out about climate change can get involved directly by registering on the official website of the World Youth Forum, an interactive platform opened to youth all around the world. 

As youth involvement continues to grow, it shows that our voices can be used to fight climate change, but also other causes we’re passionate about. Even when it seems pointless, youth at COP 27 reminds us that we can be the change. 

Government officials were the primary stakeholders in creating new climate policies, but now youth have been recognized as stakeholders in “implementing climate policies,” making our role more powerful than before.

The current urgency of climate change acts as a reminder that we all have to work together to mitigate the consequences of climate change.