By Chad Frischmann, Vice-President of Project Drawdown
(Excerpt of an article published by The BBC. Read the full article here.)

A new generation is becoming energised over the need to halt climate change. So how do we help them protect their future?

Global warming, and its effect on climate, is one the most pressing issues facing the world today. It is a metaproblem that exacerbates most other challenges that keep us up at night – from sea level rise or the loss of natural resources to increased conflict, poverty, and gender inequality.

Despite much already having been written on the urgency with which we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions, pull carbon out of the air, and redesign our social-environmental systems towards new ways of doing business, most decision makers, from individual consumers to world leaders, have been excruciatingly slow to take action.

What seems to be lacking is an understanding and consensus of real, workable technologies and practices to solve the crisis of growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

Younger generations, however, seem to be clued in to the reality that there are indeed climate solutions to this global problem. "The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change,” said Nobel Prize nominee Greta Thunberg in her 2018 TED talk.

Her bold, decisive, and informed rhetoric has inspired a global movement of school strikes for climate called #FridaysForFuture, orchestrated by students the worldwide. On 15 March 2019, 1.5 million young people and their allies hit the streets, striking in 2052 locations in 123 different countries.

While they are marching for a future they want, the endless debating over the different technologies needed to halt rising temperatures delay the necessary change. Climate solutions already exist and are scaling. There is no technology or economic barrier; rather, it is a lack of will and leadership to move farther and faster than the future of upcoming generations demand.

I lead a team of researchers from around the world, and together we map, model, and detail the world’s most impactful solutions to try and reverse global warming. Our research at Project Drawdown shows that there are better technologies and practices for electricity generation, transportation, buildings, industry, the food system, land use, and overconsumption. Climate solutions exist for nations, municipalities, businesses, investors, homeowners, so that consumers can shift towards a system that benefits all.

This is already happening across the globe through existing solutions that promote social justice, equity, and economic development, while restoring the planet’s natural carbon cycle. It is in younger generations that we will find the inspiration and courage for this change.

The crisis we all are facing together is an opening to bring young people into the conversation. Creating the future we all want requires older and younger generations to work together for the change we need. Young people are hungry to take part. Older people who hold the reins of political, economic, and intellectual power today must listen to these voices of change, support new ideas and innovation, and rethink assumptions about the way the world works, because the world will not be ours forever. No discussion of our younger generations’ future should take place without them sitting at the same table.

“It is not enough to prepare youth to eventually assume the roles you [adults] currently hold. Youth are prepared to be impactful as we are right now. We need those above us to mentor us now, so that we don’t have to wait to have your jobs; so that when we are in your positions, we can be even more successful,” said Silas Swanson, a second-year student at Columbia University during a youth panel at the Omega Institute ‘Drawdown Learn’ event held last year in Rhinebeck, New York. Silas woke me up to this truth, and we have been in contact ever since.

Greta Thunberg launched a legion of young climate strike organisers around the world who are waking people up to the need for change. There are many other young unsung voices across the globe working to create the future they need. We older generations must look to youth for inspiration, motivation, and courage.

Rather than seeking the courage to “fight” climate change, we need to find the courage to see the common-sense solutions right in front of us. The youth of today can help us all find the way, and together we can create the future we want.

Chad Frischmann is the vice-president and lead researcher of Project Drawdown, an organisation seeking to find ways the global community can help mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change.

(Excerpt of an article published by The BBC. Read the full article here.)


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