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These pages and sections capture news of climate change and stories about the groundswell of climate action by governments, companies, cities, the UN and civil society around the globe. To provide feedback, email us at press@unfccc.int Photo©Naziha Mestaoui

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Because climate change education is a powerful tool to help people understand the causes and consequences of climate change, prepare learners to live with its impacts, and empower them to take action on its causes, for the first time during a UN climate change conference, the young and not-so-young generations enjoyed an Education Day at COP 21 in Paris.

The day was launched in the Climate Generations areas by Ms. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research, and Ms. Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. They emphasized the role of education in furthering the understanding of climate issues and reiterated that sustainable development issues concern people of all ages, from children to grandparents.

As part of the day, the UN hosted a side event on learning to live with climate change and the need to accelerate formal climate change education. Indeed, more and more governments have integrated education strategies, tools and targets into their education policies and plans. COP 20 President and Peruvian Minister of the Environment, Mr. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, declared that: “we can create a new generation that is very aware of climate change and that can take transformative actions”.

Manuel Pulgar-VidalManuel Pulgar-Vidal

Alternative approaches to reach out to different communities

Later on, the UN Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness organized a side event on non-formal climate change education. Indeed, young generations need support to develop the necessary skills and tools to become the agents of change and to lead climate solutions. Innovative and new ways can better connect with the young generations.

Among others, Ms. Kathleen Rogers explained how they challenged Angry Birds players of the world to champion the environment and fight climate change in Champions for Earth, a week-long tournament on Angry Birds Friends.

Mr. Max Thabiso Edkins, Connect4Climate, shared his experience of taking on climate change by promoting solutions and empowering people to act through films, music, fashion or sport.

Mr. Jean Paul Brice Affana, from the Global Youth Music Contest, confirmed that: “For a global challenge like climate change, you need a universal language like music to connect and support each other. Music is not only a creative art, it is also a tool for transformative behavior. Because when young people are a fan of your music, they are a fan of your message and they endorse what you are saying”.

The event provided a platform for speakers from a wide range of expertise, including governments, NGOs, representatives of UN agencies, relevant practitioners and experts as well as other stakeholders and the private sector.

Paul Watkinson

Tatiana Kondo

Lights, camera, action!

To end the Education Day, the winners of the Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change received their awards during a reception and award ceremony.

The video “Small Efforts for Big Change” by Ms. Saraswati Upadhaya showed the vulnerability of regions in Nepal that need to deal with the impacts of climate change such as diminishing water supplies, and how local communities deal with the problem.

The other winner, Mr. Charles Batte, portrayed in his video the “Tree Adoption Uganda” project which helps to combat climate change through tree planting. The project involves individual companies planting trees and provides employment for youth.

The day showcased the power of young people as key players in reaching innovative and ambitious solutions to combat climate change. As Ms. Soscha de la Fuente, YOUNGO[1], summarizes: “We have something to offer, we’d like to do more, and start initiatives that involve all parties and generations”.


Video of the whole day

[1] UNFCCC observer constituency of youth non-governmental organizations

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