Shift for Our Planet: Youth demand to make systems accountable for climate justice

Thursday 19 January 2023

Youth campaigners from various parts of Nepal raised their concerns regarding climate change and urged decision makers to invest more towards climate justice in an event organized on 27 December. The event was jointly organized by five youth networks Eco Warriors, Forestry Students’ Group, Kayapalat, Nepalese Youth for Climate Action (NYCA) and Pariwartak with support from Save the Children and WWF Nepal. The youth groups were selected through an open competition that Save the Children and WWF Nepal called for in April 2022.

Presenting their climate campaigns at the event, Angel from Eco Warriors said, “climate change is affecting everyone. Butit has impacted the marginalized community more, making them even more vulnerable. Those who do not have access to facilities are forced to be dependent on nature for livelihood which at times results in the destruction of natural resources. Realizing this, we have recently provided solar panels to 50 households in Humla with the objective of creating awareness on the conservation of forest and lessening their dependency on firewood”.

“Climate change impacts children and youth the most as they will be the ones facing the consequences of today’s negligence. Hence, it’s time for us to come together as an alliance and raise our voice for more investment and accountability from the government for climate action so that the risk of climate change can be mitigated and children and youth can have a safer future,” says Ramesh from Pariwartak’s Kathmandu Ploggers team.

All the groups presented their learnings and achievements from their climate change campaigns in the presence of relevant government stakeholders and development agencies at the event. Together with Save the Children and WWF Nepal, these youth groups work to hold decision makers accountable to invest more towards climate justice.

Save the Children and WWF Nepal have been implementing an innovative model “SHIFT for our planet” that aims to shift power to young people by supporting them to lead campaigns and advocacy efforts around critical issues that affect them, and the youth groups and the organizations have been doing joint campaigning on climate change since 2022.

Diwakar from Dhanusa who leads Kayapalat said, “Young people are doing a lot, but we have limitations and if we have the support from both federal and local governments, our campaigns will be more meaningful and effective. Climate change should be the government’s main agenda as we have already experienced its impact in our lives.” He also pointed out how ‘climate change’ was the agenda in every political party’s election manifesto but those issues are likely to be forgotten as soon as the election is over.

“The issue of climate change needs to be politically addressed and though young people can do a lot, big change is not possible without political will. Our objective is to influence the decision makers to take immediate climate actions. We want to influence the decision makers through our campaigns”, says Deepshikha from NYCA.

From planting one lakh tress to focusing on preserving the Chiuri tree which is linked to the livelihood of Chepang community or raising our voice for the need of more accountable systems for climate justice, we have done a lot in 2022. With the support from Save the Children and WWF Nepal, we will be campaigning for climate justice more proactively in 2023. “We would like to urge everyone for support and action,” says Laxmi from Forestry Students’ group.

About SHIFT approach:

 SHIFT is a campaign accelerator that gives young people the skills, tools, network, and resources they need to design and deliver public campaigns to influence policy and behavioral change, on issues that matter to them. About Shift – For Our Planet campaign Shift – For Our Planet is a new partnership between Save the Children and WWF that uses the Shift campaign accelerator model to support youth-led movements for climate action.

About the five youth groups:

Eco Warriors -  This proud LGBTQ+ group will develop a campaign around an ethical fashion label. They have plans for a sustainable fashion show involving influencers and media outlets. They also funded the installation of 50 solar panels in the Karnali zone. Their campaign to engaged the LGBTQ+ community in the climate response whilst at the same time raising awareness of alternative renewable energy sources and reforestation.

Nepalese Youth for Climate Action - This youth group, who have a long history and a vast nationwide network, worked on increasing climate awareness among more than a thousand children across 25 public schools. Theyreached audiences through a range of outreach activities, including flash mobs, a social media campaign, contests and more. Kalayapat This team used social media and a series of public events to engage at least 50 young volunteers across the Madesh province, raising awareness on climate change and the need for action, with a focus on plantations and beautification projects.

Pariwartak - This team incorporated the global trend of “plogging” (picking up litter while jogging) with their endangered native icon, the red panda, in a campaign which aimed to recruit 500 new members in three months. They aimed to reduce plastic pollution in Kathmandu through public events, competitions, social media challenges, celebrity involvement and media outreach.

Forestry Students’ Group - This group focused on the impact of climate on marginalized indigenous groups. Their campaign focused on the threatened Chiuri tree — a multi-purpose tree which the Chepang peoples rely upon for their livelihoods and traditional practices. Their campaign focused on increasing awareness of sustainable Chiuri-based products and the promotion of alternative livelihood solutions

About Save the Children:

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In Nepal and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and future. Save the Children has been working with the youth groups and WWF Nepal for campaigning on Climate Change.

About WWF Nepal:

WWF Nepal works to stop the degradation of our planet’s natural environment and build a future in Nepal in which people live in harmony with nature. WWF Nepal works with a landscape approach what prioritizes community-based conservation as the foundation for a sustainable future.