Europe, May 26, youth, and the climate crisis have more in common than you think

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Young people taking part in a climate march

Are we looking to camouflage climate change? I want to speak clearly and raise my voice: today, more than ever. We live in a real climate crisis. We may be facing one of the greatest threats that humanity has ever faced, and yet, why do we not act?

What are we afraid of?

Is the challenge so great that we are not able to face it?

It had to be a young woman, Greta, who - with her tireless voice, like someone who preaches in the desert - knew how to name the threat that nobody dares to mention: we are talking about a climate crisis and not a change.

Greta served as a guide to many young people who had not yet dared to raise their voices. The response of many young people, primary, secondary, and university students was immediate.

Greta knew how to name the threat that nobody dares to mention: we are talking about a climate crisis and not a change.

In Madrid, we organized ourselves in the beginning of February to join Fridays For Future. It was exciting to share the experience of flooding the streets of my country with many other young people convinced that not enough is being done.

We were featured in the press, it was said that we would not last long in the streets, and yet we continued, not only in the streets, but doing talks and events about the danger we are approaching. We missed class and enrollments for important exams, without institutional support, without the understanding of our parents, our teachers ...

We were featured in the press, it was said that we would not last long in the streets, and yet we continued...

And today? It’s just before the European elections, and yet we do not come out in the electoral debates or in the campaigns, we are still not a group that interests the electoral audiences, who are more focused on pensions, taxes, borders ...

As a young person and as a European, I believe that our message is still not understood, it is now or never. An example of this was what I heard at the European Youth Week, in which I participated this year. I received, like the rest of the attendees, stickers, cloth bags, notebooks, water bottles, a raincoat ... these were great things, made of incredible materials and recycled. But when I received them I had an ambivalent feeling: on the one hand, I loved them, but on the other, I was thinking, is all this really necessary? Because I think it's not about consuming the same way we used to, but about starting to understand that there are other ways of living, other forms than the excessive use of materials. All these products, although they are organic, still use raw materials. And this, I'm convinced has to change, the way we consume has to change.

I dedicate my free time to teaching eight-year-old boys and girls in the Scout group of my neighbourhood. It is my mission that these future adults grow with a green conscience, and value other forms of consumption, which are not the current ones.

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Young people take part in a climate march
Young people take part in Fridays For Future in New York, March 2019.
The way we consume has to change.

Looking at the European debate in Brussels, I took notice of the role that was given to youth. They once more thanked us for our role in the fight against climate change, they talked about expanding the Erasmus plus programme, and even lowering the voting age to 16. However, we are still not the protagonists of the political change of this new era.

Watching the debate, I realized how many people are not included in the "ThistimeImvoting" campaign. Many young people who will not be able to vote, many others who live outside the EU or who do not even know that there are elections, all migrants and refugees who expect political asylum....In the near future, more and more refugees are likely to arrive in Europe and this time it will be as a consequence of a war for resources, they will be called "climate refugees". Europe bears the main responsibility for making sure people do not become climate refugees.

It is my mission that these future adults grow with a green conscience, and value other forms of consumption, which are not the current ones.

Many of my classmates who protested on Fridays for Future are not even old enough to vote. For me, the May 26 vote will not only be an exercise of a democratic right, but also, a responsibility and a duty. I will think of the children who I teach and also think, that when I was little, I would have liked that someone had raised their voice for the planet.

Today I study Law and Political Science at the University of Granada. Collaborating and being a volunteer is part of who I am. I did it in my child participation local council of Granada and later with UNICEF. And today I still do it, I am part of ASDE Scouts of Spain. This year I have been involved in the European elections with the campaigns "Estavezvoto" (ThisTimeImVoting) and "MyEuropeMySay," with volunteers from all over Spain we form "Team Europe". On May 26 we will be in the streets informing people.

Children and young people are one of Europe’s greatest assets. For the European Parliament elections in May, Voices of Youth is running a special blogging series to ensure that the opinions and voices of children and young people are heard during the elections, and by incoming European politicians.

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