Thursday, December 3rd marks an important day in the two week long agenda here at the global climate negotiations in Paris, France. Future Generations Day pays homage to those who will inherit the world which we have created. While we are already feeling the threats of climate change, from the floods in South Carolina to the droughts and fires of California, according to scientists, the most severe symptoms of our changing planet will not occur till mid to late century. By then, many of the leaders here in Paris will be gone and only their actions will speak for them.
By mid-century, many of us young adults will have families, established careers, and be looking forward to our children’s adventures out into the world. While this will not be the case for all millennials, the biggest question remains, what will their world look like? In our own lifetime we have seen a rise in extreme weather events, crisis caused by droughts, and catastrophic sea level rise, which has all occurred with only .7 degrees celsius of warming. It is safe to assume that at 2 degrees warmer, we will no longer be living on the same planet that we were born.
Here in Paris, it is clear that millennials have taken this message far and wide. The youth delegation is one of the best politically organized, strategic, and democratic structures here at the negotiations. Millennials are on the front line of advocating for a bold agreement here. They have made their way into government delegations, leadership positions at NGOs and the next generation of entrepreneurs that have already stepped forward.
Across the world generation Y is stepping up and demanding a seat at the table. This is not just evident here in Paris. This is also the theme in startup hubs, grassroot campaigns, and research institutions across the globe. The millennial generation is taking action because it has no other choice.
For more on millennial involvement at COP 21, see the Climate Action Business Associations daily video!