Climate Justice

Young people are leading the way in taking action to stop climate change.

Climate change is the greatest threat facing people and the planet today.

Scientists have warned that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, we will soon pass the threshold beyond which global warming becomes catastrophic and irreversible. 

We need to act now. And we need young people leading. It’s today’s young people who are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change and who will be the last generation to be able to mitigate its worst effects. And climate change is already having a disproportionate effect on people living in lower-income countries, where the majority of the world’s young people live.

Youth-led action on climate change has a track record of success. Yet leaders who hold the world’s future in their hands are not listening to young people. Climate action will fail without the inclusion of the voices of the world’s younger generations.

We must stand with young people to support their climate action, so that together we can avoid climate disaster.

Young people risk losing the most from climate change, yet they are systematically excluded from conversations to address it. We support young people to be leaders in transitioning to a just and sustainable world, strengthening youth civil society and their intergenerational response.

of our youth power network say climate action is their top priority

Research

Through our youth-led research, we partner with young people to capture key insights on the reality of the impact of climate change in their communities, and how they are responding.

Young researchers from the Youth Think Tank.

Living in the Climate Crisis: Young People in Uganda

We conducted research, in partnership with the University of Cambridge, Makerere University, and The British Academy, in Uganda which explores the diverse livelihood strategies of young people living in Uganda, the impacts of climate change on their lives, and the adaptation and mitigation strategies that they have employed. The report sets out key recommendations for researchers, policy-makers, politicians, development actors, media institutions, and the private sector. Data was collected through a survey of 1,214 people, 102 interviews with young people, and 12 focus groups (with 60 young people) from the Karamoja and Busoga sub-regions of Uganda. Young people shared information about understanding weather patterns, diversification of income generating activities and financial support, as well as provision of basic needs like food and water for those worst affected. They stressed the importance of support in consultation with young people, to make sure it meets the community’s needs and is collaborative. 

had their livelihoods disrupted by environmental factors in the past year
felt anxious about environmental change
did not know where to find information on how to respond and adapt to climate change.

Campaigning

Our campaigns aim to raise awareness while giving the tools for any young leader to take part in making their voice heard. Collective action from young people is already changing things for the better, like the youth-led school strikes on climate change. We help provide a platform and framework to fight for the environment and against climate change. We help bring youth activists together and provide campaigning support, establishing systems of learning and collaboration as well as funding, resourcing and amplifying grass-roots youth-led campaigns all over the world.

Count Us In Campaign

We are a founding member of Count Us In, a community of organisations and individuals taking practical steps to address climate change. For the first time, a diverse coalition of culture, faith, sports, business, youth and civil society around the world have come together to build the largest and most ambitious citizen-led effort to avert the impacts of climate change. The mission over the next decade is to mobilise one billion people to take practical steps that when aggregated, will make a significant impact in reducing carbon pollution and challenge leaders to act boldly to deliver global systems change. This radical undertaking is complementary to the policy, activist and movement organising efforts for climate justice, which have seen young people take the lead on tackling the climate crisis, from school strikes, disrupting public spaces to holding world leaders accountable. Count Us In provides opportunities for the young people we support to amplify their individual or group’s work on climate change. Restless Development has ensured youth leadership has been at the heart of Count Us In, and will continue to do so as a key member of the coalition.

COP26: Missing Majority & media cut-through

#MissingMajority at COP26. 

We supported five (with two others unable to attend due to visa delays) Youth Power Climate Reps to attend COP26 to highlight why youth voice is needed in climate decision-making spaces and the global climate movement. We led the #MissingMajority campaign which had strong media cut-through in national and international media (including CNN, the BBC, and The Mirror). Through this, we brought the messages of hundreds of young people, traditionally excluded from decision making spaces, directly to the leaders negotiating at COP26. Our work around COP26 highlighted the need for more youth voice not only in COP26 processes, but also as part of the decision making table. Restless Development also led COP26 side events where we presented youth-led research methodologies and findings, and shared how to better tell stories for climate justice. 

In Nigeria, climate crisis is destroying lives and livelihoods… But sustainable and innovative solutions are being led and championed by young people.

Azeez, Youth Climate Representative who attended COP26

An Intersectional Approach to Climate Action

The sustainable development goals will not be achieved without the support from us all, this is why an intersectional approach is essential. We recognise the issues we seek to tackle are interconnected and this has been proven by our research showing that climate intersects with education, poverty, livelihoods, gender and many more other issues that young people seek to address. 

Through taking an intersectional approach we seek to include more diverse voices, tackle multiple problems with innovative solutions and make sure no one is left behind. 

Feminist Climate Justice

Our online Feminist Action Lab course contains a core module on Feminist Climate Justice, supporting young leaders to learn more about climate change from a gender and sexual rights lens. The Feminist Action Lab, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation via the New Venture Fund, is a crash course on the tools and ideas needed for the future of gender advocacy. The platform includes video dialogues between senior and young feminists, advocacy tools and activities, and a youth-led support network to walk participants through how to attend, influence and campaign for gender equality at the Generation Equality Forum and other advocacy platforms.

Illustration by Sonaksha Iyengar for the Feminist Action Lab.

Collaboration for Climate Justice

We believe that young people are best together. When they are connected to each other, to sources of funding, to partnerships, to existing communities and to platforms their power can grow and expand. This is why we work with young people to convene spaces where youth can champion the fight for climate justice. 

Through the youth collective we have also connected over 1,300 organisations related to Climate and the environment to each other, giving them access to peer support, training, access to funders and more.

Youth Climate Action Lab in India

This ongoing programme has been designed to influence climate policies at the regional and global levels ro reflect young people’s priorities and solutions, as well as to establish knowledge development and intercity learning to improve policies. To achieve this, we are supporting Young Climate Advocates to hold governments accountable to climate commitments and build youth civic participation in climate change spaces. We are also working with youth-led organisations to produce a ‘Knowledge Hub’ and youth-led charter of demands by March 2024.

Climate Action Champions network

Restless Development convenes a global network of 192 young people who are leading in the fight for climate justice. We share opportunities and actions for climate justice, and support, inspire and facilitate collaboration across geographies and backgrounds, with strong engagement globally.

Youth power campaigners for climate action.