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How young people around the world are tackling the climate crisis

Young people around the world are leading the way in tackling the climate crisis. We can join them in prayer and action.

Written by Agnes McGrane | 15 Oct 2021

Credit: Jos Green Centre

Credit: Jos Green Centre

Young people are growing up in a world in crisis. People living in poverty are already experiencing the devastating effects of climate change. But, despite the challenges, young people from around the world are boldly stepping out to find creative ways to tackle the climate crisis.

In Jos, Nigeria, young people have started pioneering projects that reduce waste and the use of polluting fossil fuels. Tearfund has partnered with a group of young Nigerians to set up the Jos Green Centre, which employs them to recycle and repurpose waste which would otherwise be dumped.

By recycling electronic waste into solar units and batteries, the young people are making renewable energy more accessible for people living in poverty and reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Young people at the Jos Green Centre are turning electronic waste into renewable energy sources. Credit: Jos Green Centre/Tearfund

Young people at the Jos Green Centre are turning electronic waste into renewable energy sources. Credit: Jos Green Centre/Tearfund

Switching to renewable energy can also help young people in business reduce their costs and have a more reliable source of electricity. For example, hairdresser Tina was unable to run her salon properly because the electricity would frequently get cut off.

Tina attended a training course at the Jos Green Centre and learned how to make and fit a solar power system, which she then installed on the roof of her salon.

Now, Tina’s salon is the only one in the area with reliable electricity and she attracts many more customers each day. She uses the money that she used to spend on diesel to buy beauty supplies for her business. She now earns enough to save and plan for the future.

Darwin and other young people in Honduras helped clear and clean furniture after hurricanes and floods caused chaos. Credit: CASM/Tearfund 

Darwin and other young people in Honduras helped clear and clean furniture after hurricanes and floods caused chaos. Credit: CASM/Tearfund 

First responders

In other parts of the world, young people are coming face-to-face with the life-threatening consequences of the climate crisis as they experience more extreme and frequent disasters. Tearfund is preparing young people in at-risk areas by training them in how to protect their communities from the impact of future disasters, and how they can respond to emergencies.

In Honduras, 25-year-old Darwin witnessed two deadly hurricanes rip through his community in just two weeks, followed by extreme flooding. He had to flee his own home to escape the rising waters.

Darwin was able to put his training from Tearfund into practice as he and other young people helped clear out and clean flooded homes. They also recommended that the flood barriers be repaired and strengthened, to reduce the risk of flooding in the future.

Similarly, in Haiti, young people were first on the scene after an earthquake and tropical storm caused chaos. Within a few hours the Tearfund-trained youth network had assessed people’s needs in the most affected areas and started to organise relief efforts.

‘Often young people wait for the church to tell us what to do, but now I am the one who proposes to the church actions that we can do to benefit the community,’ says Darwin. ‘Now we see ourselves not only as affected people but as people who can also bless others.’

‘9 out of 10 Christian teenagers are concerned about the climate crisis, only 1 in 10 think their church is doing enough to respond.’

Speaking up to world leaders

In the UK, young people may not see the devastating effects of the climate crisis first hand like Darwin, but they are well aware of the problem.

Our research found that nine out of ten Christian teenagers in the UK are concerned about the climate crisis, but only one in ten believes their church is doing enough to respond.

With the UK hosting important climate talks with world leaders in Glasgow at COP26 this November, we gathered a group of passionate young Christians to support them in developing their own campaign to shine a light on the injustice of the climate crisis.

The young people have written an open letter to world leaders, calling for them to choose people and planet over profits, by limiting a rise in global temperatures to 1.5℃. Their online Take a Stand campaign quickly gained support, capturing the attention of the media, MPs and church leaders.

Ahead of COP26, the group will meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury, along with church leaders and politicians to discuss their climate concerns. Please join us in praying that the voices of young people – from the UK and around the world – will be heard, and that leaders will take action as a result.

Pray with us

Dear God,

Thank you for raising up these young leaders who care passionately about caring for your creation and protecting the most vulnerable people. We ask that leaders will listen to the concerns of young people and take action to prevent further harm to the planet and the world’s poorest communities.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Written by

Written by Agnes McGrane

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