Being part of the Organising Committee of the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference 2019, which took place 28-30 May in Lisbon, one of my tasks was to involve youth in the conference. I organised an art exhibition with young artists and produced a video together with my sister Johanna Bentz.
The idea was to meaningfully and creatively engage young people and give them a voice to express themselves about climate change and possible responses. The video was co-produced with and about young people and their views on climate change. Students of Antonio Arroio Art High School and St. Julian’s School, Lisbon were interviewed about their perceptions of climate change responses. The film project aims to raise awareness and climate change engagement. The video was displayed for the first time in the Closing Plenary of ECCA and is currently being distributed in social media.
Worldwide, there are few young people participating in public decisions around climate change. These same young people are disproportionately affected by disasters and climate change hazards: they have limited voices in the decisions and policies related to disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and community resilience despite calls for their empowerment as important stakeholders in these issues. In addition, young people will grow to fill leadership roles in decision-making organisations, while inheriting the consequences of climate change, policies and actions that are co-constructed today. Actively engaging and empowering children and young people to address the complex problems of climate change is a critical step to achieving resilience at local, regional, and national levels.