What do young activists want to see in 2023?

A girl carries a bottle of water to a camp for displaced people due to flooding in Pakistan

Thousands of people have been displaced after floods devastate parts of Pakistan in 2022

We left behind a year of extreme weather conditions – a hot summer, a milder-than-usual autumn and a few biting frosts that will complete 2022.

Weather-wise, it was the warmest year on record in Britain, and the UK Met Office says this year will be warmer.

All of this has to do with climate change – an issue that continues to dominate as the weather becomes increasingly unpredictable.

At COP27 last year, world leaders pledged to take a series of actions to reduce the impact we have on the planet.

But some young people feel they’re not doing enough, and Newsbeat spoke to three activists from around the world who all have one thing in common – their mission to fight the climate crisis.

“We need leaders to deliver”

Josh Bloodworth

Josh Bloodworth

23-year-old activist Josh from Liverpool is determined to do more to tackle the climate crisis and is involved in everything from local food to organizing climate workshops in schools.

“We talk about how unusual the weather is, but we don’t talk about what causes it. Just reminding people that it’s because of climate change is a form of activism.

“It is those who are most at risk or belong to marginalized communities who are most affected by these effects. Here in the UK, it’s those who can’t afford to buy air conditioning during heatwaves and keep their homes warm by cold snaps in winter who are most affected.

He feels people must “take to the streets and call on world leaders for radical climate policies here and now.”

“This is an emergency and is not being treated as an emergency.”

“My priority at COP28 this year is to listen to leaders. They say they are listening and they will get their pictures sometimes if you are lucky they will take political papers and say “this is great” and then they go back to their country like the UK and approve more coal mines because they are afraid to deliver what they promise.

“For me, it’s also a matter of fairness. It is my duty to act in solidarity with other young people around the world who are suffering the most severe effects of climate change.”

Since becoming prime minister, Rishi Sunak has been calling on countries around the world to seek clean growth.

He made this comment at COP27 which he initially said he would not attend before changing his mind after criticism.

As a result, last month Conservative minister Michael Gove approved plans to build Britain’s first coal mine in 30 years.

Many people, including some in his own party, criticized it, but supporters said it would create jobs and reduce reliance on foreign coal.

Mr. Sunak also abandoned plans to facilitate the construction of onshore wind farms.

But the government says the UK has increased its “renewable energy capacity by 500% since 2010 – with 40% of our energy now coming from cleaner and cheaper renewables.”


Matt Taylor, forecaster for the BBC’s weather team

The Met Office already believes the coming year could be even warmer than the year just passed, which was provisionally the warmest on record in the UK.

In part, this may be due to changes in the oceans around the Pacific. Over the past few years, we’ve been experiencing La Nina where cooler waters predominate in the Eastern Pacific. It’s actually helping to cool the planet, although we haven’t really seen it.

If we start to lose this La Nina influence, which is expected, global temperatures could rise even more.

We have already seen 10 years when the temperature was at least 1°C above average. There is no sign of it slowing down either. We’ve already seen the impact on glacier melt, and Greenland’s ice sheets are also melting at a rapid rate.

Everything points to our human influence – we continue to release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide levels over the past year have been higher than ever. If we don’t do something, we won’t be able to slow down.

‘We need more education’

Sophia Kianni

Sophia Kianni

Iranian-American activist Sophia, 21, came face to face with the world’s top political figures when she gave a speech at COP27 in Egypt last year. He is also the UN’s youngest climate adviser, admitting that the work is far from over.

“We have gone from the historic summer heat to the extreme cold this winter. It was depressing. The Met Office’s warning confirms the urgency – the longer our politicians wait, the worse climate-induced disasters will be. The California droughts and wildfires were incredibly eye-opening.

“It’s a worry for people of my generation knowing that we are already experiencing the impact of the climate crisis 3 times as much as our grandparents.”

Sophia realized there was a “low level of climate literacy” among my relatives in Iran, and says her activism is focused on “making climate education more accessible.”

“Most major UN climate reports are only available in six languages, which is less than half of the world’s population.

“Marginalized communities need access to climate education the most because they are disproportionately affected.”

“People Die”

Nyombi Morris

Nyombi Morris

Nyombi, 24, has a personal connection to the effects of climate change after he and his family lost their home and farm to flooding in Uganda a few years ago.

“We are still suffering from the floods and have never regained the lost land. The floods have displaced more than 400 people.

“So when I see the recent flooding in Pakistan, I always worry. Sometimes I ask myself, who do these leaders serve? People suffer and die. It’s unfair”.

Nyombi says he sees a lot of talk from world leaders and little action.

At COP27, one of the big deals involved funding, with countries committing to create a “loss and damage fund” to help poorer nations affected by climate change.

There was also talk of reducing the use of fossil fuels, but no binding agreements were reached.

Nyombi thinks it’s not enough.

“For me, the weather around the world was alarming and a call to action. For so many of us, this is happening and leaders are not taking action. I worry about countries like Sudan, which has the highest number of malnourished children.

“Before COP28, leaders must stop leaving discussed solutions on paper. We need to talk about how to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

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