4 Reasons The Climate Movement Needs To Be Intergenerational

There has been a rallying cry over the course of 2019 to take the climate emergency as just that  - an emergency.

We’ve seen 70-year olds being arrested for disruption in central London and 7-year olds taking part in school strikes to have their voices heard.

The overriding narrative has been of a growing awareness that we are heading into irreversible climate change unless lasting structural change is put in place now. There’s still a long way to go but I think one of the reasons the movement has been successful so far lies in its intergenerational nature.

We have leaders from each generation standing up to inspire activism and action across the ages.

Here are four reasons why I think the climate movement must continue to be intergenerational:

  1. The climate movement is creating a cultural shift. To create a culture shift in the moral outrage towards climate change we all need to be engaged in the movement, especially the younger generation. If young people and children are excluded from the movement, this cultural shift is going to be very short lived.
  2. Young people are at the forefront of creative campaigning. From school strikes to creating viral videos on social media - there are new ways of spreading the word about climate justice. There is however still value in the more traditional ‘tried and tested’ methods. Lobbying your MP with a petition, a visit or a letter is sometimes just more effective. When these approaches are done simultaneously our ability to engage goes up.
  3. Building on point 2, older people hold more structural power but younger people have more social influence. With an issue like climate justice we need to see a structural change in the fabric of our society but we also need to usher in some lifestyle changes. Recycling, flying less, reducing meat consumption and a move away from fast fashion are all changes that are being championed by younger voices. With both groups wielding different kinds of power to the same end we’re more likely to see wider ranging change.
  4. Finally, we’re all interconnected. Our lifestyle choices are all having an impact on the world and if we can’t change together we won’t change at all. This year at Greenbelt Festival The Christian Aid Collective is going to be exploring this further through the session ‘The Wisdom of Youth’. We have a brilliant panel of young campaigners who are going to be sharing their stories of campaigning - what they’ve found challenging and how they’ve overcome these challenges to see success within their campaigns. Come along to the ‘Christian Aid presents...’ venue on Saturday at 2pm to hear more.