Advait and Francisca have recently joined Global Action Plan as members of our board of Trustees. In this 5 Minute GAP, they talk about the importance of young people having a voice, and the power of youth in shaping our future.
"We Share Freely". The change we want to see in the world is bigger than we are. So, we're sharing our knowledge, resources and ideas to help more people and organisations take steps forward towards our vision of a green and thriving planet, where everyone can enjoy happy and healthy lives within the Earth's limits.
As part of this, we're launching our new "5 Minute GAP" series, a collection of five minute conversations that will share how we work and what we're working on. We'll talk about what we're trying to achieve and why, how we function as an organisation, and the thinking behind our plans and strategy.
We'll be regularly sharing these conversations, which will feature different members of our team and trustee board, as well as external experts.
We hope you enjoy listening in to our chats, getting to know our team and finding out what makes us who we are.
Audio only version:
If you prefer to read rather than watch, the transcription is here:
Francisca: I think it's important to have young people in influential positions because they bring a different perspective, so though we may not be as experienced as someone who's, you know, has 30 years or 40 years or however many years of experience working in the company or a charity or campaigning for climate change.
I think we bring something from you know, we do bring something from the little experience that we have and the little lives that we've lived, because I guess we have different interactions with our friends and our teachers and people at school, university, etc. and those all influence how we see the world and how we experience the world. And I think those are very valuable, like our lived experiences.
But also some of us have been actively campaigning since we were young, and we can always learn from others and they can always learn from us and we can bring these perspectives that they might not even thought about because at the end of the day. We are going to be the climate leaders in the future and we...as many people can hear our voice before we reach the time that, you know, we are, I guess, older, prominent climate leaders, um, I guess would be helpful for strategising, so like youth engagement and engaging the audiences, people that younger people can relate to. And also I guess aspire to as well. I hope that we're able to encourage more young people to apply, to be on boards and to make change on a structural level in organisations and companies in the future.
Advait: That's a very pertinent point Francisca, and I think the importance of having young people in position of leadership is drawn into even sharper focus
with the climate crisis, because as young people, we have a lot to lose from the climate crisis. Perhaps the most to lose. Our future. But the sobering reality is the average age of an MP is 50 years old and it's almost unheard of to see someone below the age of 40 in a boardroom. How can these powerful institutions possibly put themselves in the shoes of young people, promulgate policies targeted towards young people, if there aren't any young voices around the table?
And that's why we need more young people in leadership. And that's why I actually admire Global Action Plan for their real commitment to empowering the voice of the youth.
And speaking of empowering the youth, ha! What are your thoughts on the power of young people to change the world? Can we actually do anything?
Francisca: I think we're already making an impact like with Teach the Future, for example, and they're impacting policy and with We Don't Have Time, with the COP26 marches that happened at the last COP26 in Glasgow. I think people more and more, not just organisations and companies, but I think people generally are realising that we do have an impact.
We do have valuable contributions and we are interested and we can help them I guess as well in trying to get that youth engagement, like I was saying previously, we are more connected with people who are our age, so I guess they're more likely to listen to us because, you know, we're their peers, we know where they are, we know, like they're on TikTok or they're on Instagram and we can just connect with them on a different level that doesn't feel as corporate. And what about you, what do you think?
Advait: I think that I think that I used to be someone who was disillusioned, who felt disempowered, who felt like I was just one voice whispering into the darkness. And it's easy to think that when you look up and you see that all of our leaders today in politics and business tend to be fairly aged.
But I want to share a story about how powerful we can be when we speak together. So in my school sustainability society, the ages range from around 14 to 17, but we have some people as young as 12. And by organising a number of initiatives, we've taken sustainability from the fringes of people's minds to the heart of not only my school's policymaking, but also the policymaking of my school's parent organisation. So that's how powerful we can be when we speak as one. And that that's what I hope we can inspire other people to do. To get together and to speak with one voice.
Francisca: I guess I have a similar experience in that two years ago I started a campaign in my room using Twitter, Instagram, and whatnot. And I never really thought about what impact it could have. It was sort of, this is something I'm annoyed about and I'd like to change it. And just using on my networks, I was able to mobilize a group of young people. And now I've created something that's very impactful and influential within our discipline. So I agree with you there, like we can go from feeling disillusioned to being able to not only empower ourselves, but empower other people around us and really make change that we want rather than change that we're I guess that's sort of put on us, that's forced on us, that we don't necessarily agree with or that we don't necessarily think would be great for our futures.