Carole Wilkinson's new book Atmospheric: The Burning Story of Climate Change was released last month and is a perfect non-fiction resource for teens who want to know more about climate change but aren't sure where to start.
Carole was kind enough to write a guest post for the Bookmarked Blog about how teenagers can get their voices heard, especially if you're under 18 and can't yet vote.
Shout out about climate change
Young people aren’t responsible for climate change, but they’re the ones who are going to inherit a world damaged by climate change if we don’t take action soon. And yet, no one asks them what they think should be done to fix the problem.
We should all be doing everything we can in our own lives to reduce greenhouse gases, but it is our politicians who have the power to make the big changes – phasing out outdated, polluting coal-fired power stations; replacing them with sources of renewable energy such as solar and wind farms; and stopping mining for coal seam gas on prime farmland.
They should be listening to young people. And, to me, politicians are being incredibly short-sighted by ignoring young people. Someone who’s in secondary school today will be able to vote in a few years, some of them will be able to vote at the next election.
If you’re under 18, and you want a safe climate, here’s some suggestions to get you thinking.
There are no laws that say you have to be 18 to sign a petition. There are lots of climate-related petitions circulating — online and hardcopy. Sign and help distribute them.
What are you most concerned about? Start your own petition. You can petition individuals, companies, politicians or parliament as a whole. Check out these rules
Tell politicians your opinion
Just because you’re under 18 doesn’t mean you can’t tell politicians what you think they should be doing. You can write a letter or email them, or you can ring their office and ask to speak to them directly. You probably won’t get past the receptionist (nobody does!) but you can leave a message.
You can contact your local member in your state parliament, or your federal member. You can write to any minister, senator or even the prime minister. You can find their contact details online
Lots of politicians are on Twitter. Tweet at your MP! Perhaps they’ve got a Facebook page. The prime minister does
Get in the news
Every newspaper has a letters page. Email your opinions on climate action to an editor. Don’t forget to put your age.
If you start a campaign, say to help reduce greenhouse gases at school, contact your local paper. They might be interested in publishing a story about it.
Environmental groups also pretty much ignore the opinions of young people by only allowing members who are over 18. There is, however, one environmental group that welcomes young people and that’s the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC). They have more than 110,000 members! Subscribe
to their newsletter and see how you can get involved in their campaigns.
So if you’re under 18 and you care about our climate, make your voice heard. Tell politicians what you think. Remind them that you might be only 14 now, but in just four years you’ll be able to vote.
What are your ideas for making yourself heard on climate?