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The Future for our Youth – a Coming of Age

August 12, 2021 9:02 AM
By Rachel Dineley, Diversity Officer, Chesham & Amersham Liberal Democrats., and Amersham Town Councillor

Youth PictureThis week sees the publication of A level results. We have also seen the publication of the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The latter is at least as significant as the former for our youth.

The individual effort made by students to achieve good results and realise their potential, despite the disruption to their education over two very difficult years, needs to be matched by a corresponding effort on the part of us all in tackling climate change.

It may be tempting to think that individually there is little we can do to tackle a challenge that governments must own. But each of us can make a difference, and collectively, in the community, we can find many different ways to reduce our carbon footprint and enhance our environment. The message from the IPCC is loud and clear. We have not done enough. We must do a lot more and we must do it now. There is no putting it off if we are to avoid catastrophe.

We have all had to embrace change in the light of the pandemic. We have risen to the challenge. To tackle the climate crisis, there must be much more change to come. Together we can commit to embracing change and securing a viable future, for everyone.

Engaging our youth in the conversation is just the start. We need to restore youth services to a level that ensures the delivery of much-needed practical support for young people. Investment in people and in the environment are inextricably linked. Our best chance of protecting the latter includes investing in the former.

International Youth Day was established by the United Nations in 1999 and is celebrated on 12 August each year. In the ensuing 21 years the world failed to tackle its biggest problem. With this "coming of age" we must heed the IPCC. Time has run out and action is critical.