Project background

Young woman on road reading map.

The need for advocates for the environment

Many years of industrial production in the modern world have taken quite a toll on our shared environment. The excessive amount of greenhouse gasses contributing to the transformation of our climate and potential destruction of habitable places, have taken center stage in politics all around the world. According to the United Nations (2010) the environment is becoming an issue of paramount importance to young people.

When it comes to issues of large-scale societal change, advocates have always been key in shaping new political horizons for society. Whether concerned with social issues and the economy, or the environment, the activities of engaged citizens can have immense impact, both positive and negative for a given cause. Advocacy and volunteer work have been a driving force for social justice, and numerous examples from around the world show the impact of various movements. An example in the sphere of environmental advocacy the
student led movement with Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish environmental activist who recently gained prominence by serving as role model for young people and by presenting a personalized narrative of the consequences of environmental degradation.


Supporting young people 

In civil society we have recently seen a rise in different types of organizations, dealing with climate change. Whether in terms of the increased number of NGO’s, activist groups, or increase in legislation on the area, it is a sure sign that citizens are highly involved on this issue. Like the student uprising of 1968, another historical example of young people leading the charge in widescale change of societal attitudes. Young people have often been a part of the vanguard fighting for a sustainable future, young people want to drive positive changes, and advocate activities can help them achieve this goal.

One of the main issues faced by citizens the 21st century is the preservation of the environment and the need to find sustainable strategies for the next generations to safeguard and preserve it. A 2017 Eurobarometer study on public attitudes point out that environmental protection is important for 94% of Europeans, 66% feel citizens are not doing enough themselves, and 87% feel that they have a role regarding this issue. It also points out to the fact that 85% of European think the EU should invest more in environmental protection, and 67% thinks that decisions on the issue should be taken at the European level.

To this effect, it is intended that young people learn to use knowledge to interpret and evaluate the surrounding reality, to formulate and debate arguments, to sustain positions and options, fundamental capabilities for active participation in informed decision making, in a democratic society. While there are signs that young people want to get involved, some still lack the required knowledge to transform social awareness into communicative advocate activities aimed at transforming societal attitudes.

The European Environment Agency (2019) says that the voice of young people should not be ignored in Europe. They are increasingly making themselves heard to demand a more ambitious response to climate change and environmental degradation. If we fail in changing current trends over the next decade, it will prove that their fears for the future are wellfounded. Therefore, environmental education for sustainability is becoming increasingly necessary in order to promote a more comprehensive, and ambitious approach towards the


The need for global initiatives

Since the environmental crisis is a truly global issue not contained within any nation state borders, taking advantage of economies of scale to implement solutions across borders, taking advantage of economies of scale to implement solutions across borders would have a far greater effect than national solutions. In terms of this project, creating common intersubjective understanding of the problem, would make it easier to compel collective action. Many of the social and environmental problems that persist are not limited to the national sphere. Ever since globalization and the mantra of trade liberalization across borders took off in the 1970’s, societal issues have gotten a distinct transnational character. When it comes to the issue of climate change and environmental protection, this is no different. Therefore, it is of vital importance that groups advocating for such issues organize across borders. Transnational problems require transnational solutions.