Young people are ready to tackle climate ‘code red’

We need to make a decision and we need to make it now, because the climate crisis will not wait – it is already here.

Анастасія Бушовська
12 November 2021

How do I see 2050? I see it as sustainable and green, with clean air and rivers. I believe it will be this way thanks to the people and the governments who understand that the air we breathe and the water we drink are actually part of ourselves. The environment is at the heart of our lives, and our future depends on how ambitious, proactive and determined we are today in transitioning to new ways of managing natural resources.

We need to make a decision and we need to make it now, because the climate crisis will not wait – it is already here. The further we postpone action, the more painful and drastic the consequences will be. The world in which we and future generations will live is determined by what is happening now, and young people have very little time to decide what to do.

So what will we leave as a legacy? The choice is ours. That is why we, the youth, cannot be silent. The voice of the youth must be heard.

For me personally, the fight against climate change gives me confidence in the future. It gives me confidence that the country in which I live will have enough water in 50 years to protect the population from drought and food shortages. It gives me confidence that parts of the country will not be underwater, and it gives me confidence that natural disasters will not endanger my life and the lives of millions of others.

From personal experience, wherever I am, I see the effects of climate change. I go hiking in the mountains of Georgia, and I see the melting glaciers there. I see the change in rainfall and endless fires burning around the world. If this is our present, then what is our future? It seems to me that improving the way we interact with the environment can solve this problem.

This interaction is determined not only by international politics, but also by simple everyday deeds – the installation of LED bulbs instead of incandescent ones, insulating buildings instead of heating them, and composting instead of burning leaves.

Young people have a superpower – a fresh vision of climate change and its solution. Young people hold the promise of a better tomorrow. We must fight, go to rallies and strikes, and demonstrate our demands. We are important because we are the future.

Urgent decisions must be made to tackle the climate crisis. Scientists have already called this moment a ‘code red’ for humanity in a 2021 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is therefore crucial that governments are able to agree on mechanisms that will reduce the human impact on the environment.

So what is the connection between the UN Framework Convention (COP) and young people?

This COP event focuses on the negotiations between countries on international climate policy. One of its objectives is to involve as many diverse people as possible in action aimed at solving climate issues. In particular, for young people, it is an opportunity to be heard, to voice our demands, to gain experience in negotiations, to find like-minded people from other countries, and to be inspired to take part in other climate-related activities. At the COP, you understand that you are not alone. And that our world has a future.

COP26 in Glasgow is another step towards preventing global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. This goal was set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. It will reduce the number of catastrophes and save millions of lives.

After the COP, I hope to bring back to Ukraine a deeper understanding of international processes and opportunities that will help me work to improve local climate literacy and engage the population in addressing environmental issues.

And I believe more than ever that, in the future, we will have cities with clean air, clean water and clean energy. We just need to make sure that decisions are made now and that young people are part of them. So, IT IS TIME TO ACT NOW!

A little bit about me:
I am 24 years old, and I was born and live in Kyiv, Ukraine. I recently graduated from a Master’s Programme in Environmental Sciences in Netherlands. I currently work for the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation, where I assist in research on the decarbonization of coal regions. For the last few years, I have been actively involved in the climate movement, and I am a volunteer with Ekodia NGO. I also take part in the international initiative Climate Scorecard, for which I write monthly publications on Ukraine’s progress in achieving the Paris Agreement goals. I am currently a participant in the Environmental Mentoring of Communities programme from the Ukrainian School of Political Studies and the Laboratory of Legislative Initiatives, where I seek to create a map of environmental issues jointly with Chernihiv city community to further address environmental issues. In my free time, I love to go hiking and learn acting skills.