women holding signs during daytime
Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

Whilst Government leaders meet in Glasgow for COP26, young people across the world continue to be filled with frustration and anger about the lack of urgency to tackle the climate emergency – after all, it is the young people of today who will face the worst effects if we do not act now. 

Over recent years, young people have been taking to the streets and organising through social media to make their voices be heard by those in power – bringing together young people from across the world and empowering them to demand change.  

Their call for action has never been more important. Banning plastic straws is all well and good, but it does not go far enough to avoid a climate crisis. We need a boldradical plan to tackle the climate emergency – and co-operation must be at its heart. That’s why the co-operative movement is leading the way on tackling climate change – from innovative green community energy co-ops to Co-operative Metro Mayors pioneering new ambitious solutions, our movement is really at the forefront of this vital issue.

Our movement isn’t just listening to young people but empowering them to take charge. As someone who is incredibly passionate about getting more young people involved with our movement and in wider politics, it was so inspiring to see the Co-operative Party’s Youth Network base their event during our Annual Conference shortly before COP26 on climate. We heard from young people like those at Woodcraft Folk, a co-operative children’s and young people’s organisation, who are educating younger generations on the climate emergency.  

At COP26, we’ve seen how young people are the leading voice on the battle against climate change – from their speeches on the conference floor to outside on the streets of Glasgow, young people have proven they are a force to be reckoned with. But with key decisions at COP26 in the hands of world leaders – who tend not to be on the youthful side – young people still don’t have the power to turn our words into action. We can’t wait around for leaders to listen: we need action now. It’s time to give young people a seat at the table – a say AND a stake – so that we can put in place the bold, co-operative solutions we need to tackle the climate crisis – before it’s too late.