by Fran Southgate
Living Landscape Advisor
The courage and conviction of young people around the world, who stood up to hold us all accountable for the current climate change crisis this week has been inspirational. The older generations often passively believe that we have no power to make change, whilst our younger generations have shown us that they can, and they do.
The collective impact of young people over the last year, has been to bring the climate change issue to the fore with loud speakers in a way that many large conservation and academic organisations have been trying to do for decades. I am both humbled and grateful for their dedication to the cause. It is deeply touching to know that our youngsters are so passionate about this issue and about the future of our planet and our communities, and I am very grateful that they have made so many people sit up and listen.
The youth climate movement is very eloquent in their ability to see and actively pursue innovation and change in order to help combat the challenges that we need to. The ability to adapt and innovate in the face of changes that we can’t predict, and to take positive action rather than be paralysed by the enormity of the task we are faced with, are fundamental to making the environmental and societal changes that we need to, in the timescales that we have remaining. Much of the old knowledge is still good knowledge, but we need to actively employ what we know in different ways, to learn quickly, and to be brave enough to try out new ideas and to make changes to our existing systems which currently don’t allow climate change adaptation at the speed we need it. The slightly older generation is perfectly placed to provide the support, funding and drive to help make the youth movements’ climate pledges a reality.
Most importantly, we all need innovation and adaptation at a landscape and at a global scale and across all generations. Climate changes are happening. By taking responsibility individually, as well as working collaboratively at an ecosystem scale, we have a chance to engage everyone in a new kind of innovation landscape, where we adapt our natural and human systems to take account of what they need to in a rapidly changing world. It is both exciting, and terrifying, but new ways of seeing and doing are emerging every day, and I for one am looking forward to engaging with them to help with the climate crisis.