Review: Climate Change – Youth Guide to Action

Asia-Pacific Mountain Courier: Special issue on youth and climate change (2010)

International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development – ICIMOD‘s Asia Pacific Mountain Network (APMN) is just out with its winter issue. This special issue on  ‘Youth and Climate Change’ has been compiled to underscore the International Year of Youth (IYY) 2010-2011; COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico; and the increasing interest of young people in taking part in activities related to climate change issues. It contains the views of young people, information about various opportunities, an APMN youth activity review, and other features. This issue was formally launched by Mr. Daan Boom, APMN Coordinator and Integrated Knowledge Management Programme Manager, ICIMOD, coinciding with COP 16 meeting later today.

Annexed below is my review of ‘Climate Change – Youth Guide to Action’ published in the very same.

Climate Change – Youth Guide to Action Published in 2007, ‘Climate Change – Youth Guide to Action’ is a product from ‘Taking It Global (TIG)’, an international youth-led organisation that helps young people find inspiration, access information, become involved, and take action to improve their local and global communities. The publication is a step-by-step action guide developed for youth by youth which begins with an overview of the science of climate change and then formulates steps youth can take to inform, inspire, and involve peers to communicate and take action on climate change.

The guide garners the attention of youth and breaks down the complex science behind climate change into easily understandable English. Informal language, colourful infographics, and text boxes (case studies) make the science more digestible.

The action guide informs youth about what actions can be taken at individual, communal, and global levels. Reducing energy footprints and opting for greener lifestyles are actions suggested to be undertaken at the individual level. Adaptation to climate change at the communal level is proposed as a crucial step as youths have a very important role to play in demanding action and being a part of positive change. It also suggests that youths take an active interest in policy measures and challenge their governments to be more responsible, thus inducing  a broad impact throughout society and industry that will lead to real and significant reduction of emissions. It details what policy instruments can be carried out at local, national, and global levels to curb the effects of climate change.

‘Adopt-an-MP’ campaigns by the Canadian youth climate coalition (CYCC) in Canada and the Australian youth climate coalition (AYCC) in Australia are cited by the guide as examples of young people speaking up about climate change – directly to their politicians. Other chapters suggest checklists youth activists can use to kick start and implement their campaigns successfully. The exercises take the reader back and forth across the document, making it an engaging read.

The publication is full of inspirational quotes from notable economists, Nobel Laureates, and youth activists. Text quoted from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Fourth Assessment, publications by International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Stern Review on the economics of climate change, substantiate the problem at hand, while excerpts from speeches and experiences shared by youth community members to the UN Council provide inspiration and tell us what has already been achieved by youth. A comprehensive appendix lists case studies of success stories which youths can refer to for information and inspiration and has an action toolkit to help kick start advocacy projects.

In summary, the Climate Change – Youth Guide to Action focuses on the importance of influencing policy and the different levels and means of action that youth activists can take. The guide contains a fair number of references to Canadian youth actions and contexts and some African and Australian initiatives. References to initiatives from the global South would have broadened the geographical scope, although the guide can be adapted and used with different audiences.

The publication is available to download free in the following languages: English, French, Simplified Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Arabic. Link to the English version

The publication is available for free download from

For other issues of the Asia Pacific Mountain Courier, visit the following links.
Vol. 11, No. 1 (2010)Vol. 10 No. 2 (2010)Vol. 10, No. 1 (2009)Archive of all APMN bulletins