Climate justice and youth voices

Publié le 4 novembre 2022 Mis à jour le 4 novembre 2022

Ilaria Perriua, Ioannis Kalaitzakisa, Marta Muntonia, Calli Paula, Lara Fazzaria
a Université Côte d'Azur, MSc MARRES, Nice, France

Our Earth is now more than ever facing drastic changes due to climate disruption. What about the future? Well, we don’t know. The uncertainty that is increasingly arising is impacting all people, from all cultures and countries, but some more than others. Undeveloped countries are paying the price for our unsustainable behaviour in the past and present. The goal of generating revenue has been blinding us from making the right decisions, as we focus only on acquiring power and dominating other countries. To achieve this, we have been overusing and mistreating nature, pushing it to its harsh side and causing it to become uncontrollable. Waiting for consequences to affect all countries individually will not solve the problem of climate change. No one will be able to stop it if we don’t make radical changes in our way of thinking and in decision-making now.
We are young students from different backgrounds, cultures and countries, but with the common idea of fighting for a better Earth and future. Like us, many others want to see real changes today.

Climate justice

Publications, papers and articles on climate change and its effects are published every day. Multiple studies show climate-warming trends, and a scientific consensus is emerging year after year, led by evidence rather than opinions (Scientific Consensus: Earth’s Climate Is Warming, NASA). Yet, we see a continuous alternation between words and empty promises. And while we can still afford to sit down and talk with the aim of making an impression on people, others are not so fortunate. Climate justice is still an underdeveloped research topic, and ethical questions cannot be ignored anymore. As with all the other issues of our capitalistic society, the poor and vulnerable are the first to suffer and the last ones to be considered and – eventually – helped. As human beings, we consider ourselves privileged, gifted with superior intelligence, and yet, we are building our prosperity at the expense of the defenceless. We are asking to consider the voices of those most affected, otherwise climate solutions will turn into climate segregation. For too long, these countries have been underrepresented, watching from afar the biggest global polluters discussing between them. Unheard, but not voiceless, they are not just fighting for their future, but for their present.
The climate crisis highlights extreme socio-economic disparity. These inequalities become evident in the leading arguments for climate solutions. It is important to note that climate justice is in fact social justice, as climate change negatively affect the many facets of human well-being. In order to heal the planet, we must consider human welfare. For many individuals on Earth, hierarchical needs cannot even be met on a physiological level due to geographic and economic circumstances. Providing blanket climate solutions to the entire planet, does not address nor aid the specific needs of each region, and often distorts the perspective as regards complicity, placing the blame on individuals as consumers. These distortions allow governments and corporations to point the finger of blame in the wrong direction. Consumer lifestyle change is not a climate solution when corporations and lobbyists are still tailoring the markets. The societal shift expected from governments and leading climate advocacy groups is impossible. Systemic consumption has become steadily intertwined with everyday life since the industrial revolution. Complicity is no longer a choice, complicity is a part of human existence. We do not have the luxury of time to provide solutions to this climate crisis on an individual basis. We need administrations and governments to take responsibility, accept complicity, and enact immediate change. This necessity is rarely met, and new unsustainable deals are made daily based solely on profit. It is clear that instantly profitable methods of income grossly out value sustainable investments. These tainted values are displayed by many developed countries, and they demonstrate climate injustice.
An undeniable amount of privilege exists among climate advocacy leaders. While legislators and non-profits have the luxury of time to discuss empty climate solutions, human lives are lost due to climatological disasters. It’s time for world leaders to not only admit their contribution to climate change, but commit to proactive, manageable solutions. Hosting conferences to scrutinise possible climate reform is not a climate solution, but a mere exploitation of consumerism masked as a cosmetic solution. There is absolutely no way to further hide inaction. The time for climate reform is now.


We strive to keep ourselves updated, and as young students we must. However, we cannot help but question the decisions made regarding our planet.
We want to know how we are expected to care for the “Earth’s lungs” while the deforestation rates of the Amazon rainforest keep spiking.
We want to know how we should limit our fossil fuel usage, while major fossil fuel extraction projects are being proposed.
We want to know how we can preserve marine biodiversity, while the “High Seas Treaty” has yet to be adopted. We might need more time, but the planet is out of time.
We also want to know how we are expected to preserve biodiversity and ecosystems while the deep-sea mining trials on the Clarion Clipperton Zone just got a green light from the International Seabed Authority. It is the first time since 1970 that such trials have been accepted in the area, exploiting ecosystems that the scientific community has barely even studied. Doesn’t this set the stage for another ecological catastrophe?
The Earth, its current population and its future populations are in urgent need of immediate and drastic action. Each setback reduces our time on the planet.

Why youth voices are important

It is imperative that the voices of the youth be taken into consideration. After all, it is us, and the future generations, who will have to live with the consequences of the decisions that are being made now.
We are the ones who will have to live in a world where coral reefs no longer exist. We are the ones who will have to deal with the consequences of intense droughts, rising sea levels, heatwaves, species becoming extinct, the loss of ice sheets and many other repercussions that will fall on our shoulders.
We didn't ask for this and we don't want this. We urge politicians and leaders of large corporations to ask themselves these questions:
How many more peer reviewed scientific papers need to be written for the governments to make concrete changes in policies? How many more protests do we need to hold in order to make our voices heard? How many more climatic disasters need to occur before governments and industries realise that we can't simply throw money at this problem?
Seeing as you are writing our future, surely there is a space to include our voices. We are willing to change our behaviour, so why aren't you?


  1. Scientific Consensus: Earth’s Climate is Warming. (NASA). Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. Retrieved October 9, 2022, from consensus/