The Power of Generation Z in Leading the Climate Change Movement

by Darya Ebrahimi

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

In the age of social media, it has become increasingly more accessible to be an advocate, from fighting for social justice locally to movements that take the globe by storm. Instagram has undoubtedly given the youth a platform to be heard on some of the most prominent issues plaguing our world - Climate change. They are overcoming every adversity to continue raising awareness and shaking the people in power awake to the impending doom of the climate crisis. Many young activists have endured threats and violations of their civil liberties, but they persist in using their positions to inspire change for future generations.

As a result of the ever-rising greenhouse gas emissions, the past eight years are on track to being the eight warmest years the earth has seen. This has led to a host of rising problems, such as extreme heatwaves, droughts and deadly floods affecting millions of people across the globe. In 2022 the mean temperature sat an estimated 1.15 °C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average, making this year the fifth or sixth warmest year; however, this record does not necessarily reverse the long-term trend of global warming. Climate change has become one of the most pressing global issues today.

The youth are growing up in an ever-changing world, causing great concern. When we talk about young leaders in the fight against climate change, Greta Thunberg comes to mind immediately. At such a young age, the 19-year-old has made great strides in advocating for solutions to the climate crisis. Her journey began at the Swedish parliament's steps with a handmade sign that read "school strike for climate change". She then made her way to the UN and delivered her unforgettable speech to the world leaders, urging them to take action. Her initiative sparked a global movement amongst young people worldwide. Many have followed in her footsteps. Licpriya Kangujam, a young environmental activist from India, pioneered her fight for climate justice at the age of 6 and has since traveled to the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Madrid in 2019 to address world leaders, conducted multiple ted talks, and founded "the child movement", a global justice organization for young people, all before she turned 10.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

However, in our very own backyards, Adil Iman Aidid, a young Malaysian, has taken significant steps as a young eco-warrior seeking to inspire his peers in fighting against climate change. He has given countless speeches, hoping to educate and raise awareness about an issue close to his heart. His inspiration? The consequences that climate change bore on human rights, he believes that fundamental human rights are intertwined with nature, for example, food and water. To reach a bigger audience and spark a flame with this movement in Malaysia, he has used social media platforms to educate and raise awareness of climate change's imminent dangers and effects. His journey has allowed him to speak at local universities and captivate his peers into joining the cause.

The pursuit to stop climate change has fallen on the shoulders of Generation Z and millennials. With the rise of social media in the past decade, youth lead movements have had the chance to be encouraged and recognized by politicians leading to a transformation in environmental conversations. Platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have facilitated the sharing of information and real-time interactions between users, especially young activists, inflating the reach of information through infographics and hashtags to build narratives and mobilize social movements.