A few weeks ago, the world came together in Paris –leaders of governments and businesses, civil society and religious leaders, sports and entertainment icons and children & youth – to adopt the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) that address the issue of climate change and its dramatic effect on our planet.The Fantastic four, Iron man, Captain planet, Superman and the Avengers have saved the world for us more times than we can count. And we’ve all grown up secretly wishing they existed in real life too. Recently, Unicef, Sharad Devarajan of Graphic India, and comic book legend Stan lee came together and created Chakra the Invincible and the Mighty Girl, to make children understand the complex issues of climate change in a simple and entertaining way, help them find solutions to climate change problems they face in their countries and encourage them to take collective action- making them the real heroes of climate change.Chakra the Invincible reiterates that, often it is the imaginary superheroes that do the real life work… of planting powerful thoughts that have a lifelong impact and fostering a new generation of changemakers, innovators and leaders to tackle the most pressing issues of climate change.If you missed the launch of ‘Chakra, the Invincible” at #COP21, don’t miss the climate action here:
The story begins with children from all countries – India, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Philippines, Maldives meeting in Mumbai for the Model United Nations seminar to figure out how to help with United Nations SDGs.
On discovering that their friend has asthama caused by pollution in Indonesia, each one narrates how climate change has affected their countries respectively.
Overwhelmed by the enormity of the climate problems, Raju and Leena call on their friends who they know can make a difference – Enter Chakra the Invincible and the Might Girl. They begin with trying to fix the surface of the problem using typhoon rains from the Philippines to put out a forest fire in Indonesia.
However, they soon realise that climate change is too complex to address action by action, even with superpowers. Instead, each community has to learn how to work together, and do its part.
They begin to come up with solutions for the problems in each of their countries, realising that each of them is really the superhero who can change the world!
“[Climate Change] is about the survival of my generation. Every generation to come will be affected by decisions made today,” said Roske-Martinez, environmental youth activist and youth director of Earth Guardians at the COP21 in Paris, who was amongst the 20 youth activists to have sued the U.S. government last year, due to their failure to adequately address the dangers of climate change and the impacts that would have direct action on their future.Knowing that they will be living here in 50 years, to bear the consequences of actions taken or not taken by today’s leaders, youth initiatives are working locally and globally to fight the threat against climate change. These earnest, eager, well informed and committed youth are aware that they are a generation gravely threatened by climate change, that waiting on change will lead to further crisis and that hope lies in their action. They believe that every person not only inherits the earth , but has a responsibility to care for it as well.While #COP21 and other climate conferences are still discussing climate solutions, here are a few youth initiatives across the world that are already paving the way for a safer planet.
“The planet doesn’t need saving. We do,” said Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, a 15-year-old indigenous change agent, environmental activist, public speaker, eco hip-hop artist, and the Youth Director of Earth Guardians– Xiuhtezcatl is a powerful voice on the front lines of the youth-led climate movement who is mobilizing his army of teens in 25 countries to demand greener policies from the world’s leaders. ‘Earth guardians’ are a group of young climate change activists, artists and musicians from across the globe stepping up as leaders and co-creating the future that they know is possible. Their mission is to grow a resilient movement with youth at the forefront by empowering them as leaders and amplifying their impact. The Earth Guardians joined the International Climate Strike on November 30th – the first day of the United Nations COP21 climate talks in Paris, along with one million students around the world who walked out of their classrooms and lunchrooms to participate in climate action for their generation and all those to come. They focus efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground, for an immediate and rapid shift to 100% renewable energy and to support and highlight frontline communities who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
The lack of representation of Indian youth in the UNFCCC COP international climate negotiations in Bali, 2007 led to the idea of the Indian youth climate network (IYCN). A country as large as India with one of the highest youth populations in the world was missing from the world forum of one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. The network’s aim was to knowledge-enable Indian youth as well as encourage countrywide bonding for collective action on matters of climate, ecology and environment. It also works to generate awareness about and establish consensus on what role India should play in the global debate of climate change, and how it should address its domestic issues. . IYCN has active members in 18 states of the country and has partner networks/ organisations in other states of India. Founded in 2008 by Deepa Gupta, IYCN is a coalition of young people & youth-oriented organisations to take action on climate change. IYCN considers its biggest achievement to be the personal transformation of each individual who participates in the network’s activities as well as its contribution in bringing the climate debate to the mainstream. Recently, IYCN and & Alliance of Indian Waste pickers announced its joint delegation for COP21, Paris change negotiations.
The International Youth Climate Movement (IYCM) is a large group of connected friends, campaigners and optimistic humans on this earth lobbying for a fairer, cleaner and healthier world for all. The IYCM is made up of young individuals or groups working on grassroots projects, international campaigns and direct engagement with decision-makers to combat climate change and the threat it leaves millions of people world-wide. Young people around the world are uniting to demand a Paris Agreement that commits to phase out carbon emissions by 2050. They paint a circle around their right eye to symbolize that they are watching decision-makers and demand a commitment to zero. In the #zeroby2050 campaign, zero means no more carbon emissions. No more burning fossil fuels. 100% renewable energy for all. By 2050.
Australian Youth Climate Coalition
AYCC was formed on the belief that climate change is the single greatest threat facing humanity, and puts young people and future generations at risk. Addressing the climate crisis as the biggest opportunity to create a world that is more sustainable, just and fair, AYCC aims to build a movement that gives young people the tools to make it happen. With the next generations future at stake, it’s their creativity and vision that will inspire those around us to act. Since 2007 AYCC has helped thousands of young Australians take action in their schools, their universities, and their communities, and take part in campaigns that put climate change in the national spotlight. They now boast of more than 120,000 members, 100 local groups, and more than 500 regular volunteers.
After he saw Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, Alec Loorz was freaked out about what was happening, and was infuriated that there were people who were preventing action. He applied to be trained by Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project, but was told that he was too young. So he went ahead and made his own presentation and began to give them in schools throughout California. Alec started iMatter (then Kids vs. Global Warming) in 2007 when he was 13-years-old because he couldn’t find another organization to take him and his goal to end the climate crisis within his lifetime seriously. He founded iMatter with the belief that his generation can be the ones to break through the politics and the denial, and inspire current leaders to govern and live as if our future matters. iMatter is a microphone for youth on climate change. It is a youth-driven organization dedicated to listening to and amplifying the voice of the youngest generation, the generation that will be most impacted by the effects of climate change. Their work includes youth leadership training and empowerment to address the climate crisis at the grassroots level.
Arab Youth Climate Movement
The Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) is an independent body that works to create a generation-wide movement across the Middle East & North Africa to solve the climate crisis, and to assess and support the establishment of legally binding agreements to deal with climate change issue within international negotiations. Established in the lead up to the UNFCCC COP18 Doha negotiations, AYCM is driven by over 20 national coordinators spread across 15 MENA countries and aims to make its presence felt from the Gulf to the Atlantic. AYCM partners include IndyAct, 350.org, Global Campaign for Climate Action and the Climate Action Network (CAN). AYCM believes that it is only through a huge, diverse and committed social movement that solutions to the climate crisis will be realized. As MENA youth, they strongly believe that young people are a core agent of change in such a challenge. At every level, AYCM is led by young people. AYCM empowers young people in their local communities to create change on a national, regional and international scale.
Kids for Climate Action is a Vancouver-based non-profit youth organization advocating stronger political action on climate change. Founded in 2010 prior to the UN Climate Change Summit in Cancun, Kids for Climate Action has organized rallies, marches, school presentations, canvassing groups, and has been very involved in fighting projects including the Enbridge pipeline and the Fraser-Surrey docks coal port expansion. Although they can’t vote, they deserve a say in the decisions that will shape their future. Their mandate is to unite, educate and engage high school students, and to remind political leaders of their obligation to take action on climate change.