This week the European Youth Forum held the first of a series of “YO!Conversations”, an event bringing together young people and decision makers to have a frank discussion about key issues for young Europeans. The inaugural YO! Conversation was on climate change and young people and featured, MEP and chair of the Greens in the European Parliament, Philippe Lamberts.Ai??
The conversation particularly focused on the Paris agreement, COP21, and how young people can influence and hold governments to account when it comes to implementing the agreement. Joining the YO! Conversation were young people from the Youth Forum’s member organisations, well as youth activists who attended COP21.
Mr Lamberts reflected on the need for individuals to make changes to their lives and lifestyles, but that also it is not only down to us as individuals to make the change needed to tackle climate change, that systemic change is also required. According to Mr Lamberts, this change needs to radical and must include a rethink of our economic systems, which currently exploit the planet and an important share of the population for the benefit of the very few. Society and governments must upturn the way that they measure such systems, looking at ai??i?? for example ai??i?? equality and wellbeing, rather than GDP. Mr Lamberts emphasised the need to ensure dignity of everyone, not the misguided aim of growth at any cost.
Some of the activists questioned Mr Lamberts on the frustrations of attending conferences and negotiations, such as COP21, but feeling powerless because of a lack of any seat at the decision-making table or any scope to change things. He replied the he also does not attend these events where he feels the same frustrations as them!
Yo! Conversation is a series of events to mark the Youth Forum’s 20th anniversary.