Youth Climate Compact
Drafted in the spirit of the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference: “Building Inclusive and Sustainable Cities and Communities”
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America
August 26-28, 2019
We, the youth, unite in action against the climate crisis. The Earth’s climate is nearing the point-of-no-return from which life on the planet cannot recover. The cost of inaction is too immense. Threats to the climate menace every aspect of our world; and the sustainable communities we must build for the future depend on our collective will to meet and overcome these existential challenges.
This compact identifies specific actions we can take to reduce the devastating effects of the climate crisis and adapt our communities in mindset and structure. The large-scale changes that the world needs cannot happen without the cooperation of countries, cities, civil societies, and the private sector. However, each individual can play a role in this movement. Recognizing that access to resources varies throughout the world, we urge all to adopt pledges that resonate with them and incite climate action in their own communities. As each signature is added to this compact, a global network of motivated and concerned youth grows. Over half of the world’s population are youth. Such a network will be able to tackle the systemic processes which have enabled and propelled the climate crisis.
Without an immediate paradigm shift, we will continue to see profoundly destructive consequences on human life across the planet. Rising sea levels and temperatures, water acidity and pollution, and abnormally severe natural disasters are causing the rapid decrease of Arctic sea ice extent, the decimation of biodiversity, the gradual disappearance of geographically vulnerable regions, particularly Small Island Developing States, and the disproportionate burden on economically disadvantaged areas in the Global South.
Climate change is aggravating global crises, intensifying drought and the lack of access to clean water and, subsequently, heightening global conflicts. By 2050, over 143 million people will be displaced as a result. Rapid industrial development coupled with inadequate regulation will hasten air pollution, deforestation, and acid rain; consequently undermining the ability both of natural habitats and human societies to support the thriving of their lifeforms, and thereby precipitating negative health outcomes for all species alike.
Overwhelming empirical evidence prove that the rapid intensification of the climate crisis was caused by human activity. We now must undo the damages. The Montréal Protocol successfully scaled back ozone depletion, but new climate crises require that we assert a more comprehensive global agreement. The future is uncertain, and the devastation to the planet will become irreversible without immediate global action.
Hereby, we the youth pledge to:
- Raise awareness in our own communities about policy that is detrimental to the health of our planet and promote policy which works to confront the main causes of the climate crisis;
- Educate ourselves, our families, and our networks through formal and informal channels, including social media, on the impacts that we as individuals and as a collective society have on the climate through daily lifestyle choices;
- Innovate climate-conscious solutions to local and global challenges and support scaling of sustainable products for widespread use;
- Advance the widespread education of women and girls, understanding that doing so is a critical step in combating climate change;
- Be mindful of the effects of our consumption, compounded in the manufacturing, transport, storage, sales, use, and disposal of products;
- Implement the 6Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, Rethink, and Refuse in order to fulfill a net-negative carbon future to reverse environmental degradation;
- Use our purchasing power to encourage businesses to prioritize sustainable models and environmental well-being over short-term profits;
- Prioritize environmentally friendly mobility options; influence relevant governing bodies to center the “Avoid, Shift, and Improve” framework in their building of sustainable local mobility systems and infrastructure;
- Properly dispose of waste, and advocate for improved waste management infrastructure;
- Avoid single-use plastic products and packaging to reduce the accumulation of waste;
- Shift our diets to be plant-forward and climate conscious, reducing meat consumption and demanding reforms in food production industries as appropriate;
- Call attention to the environmental harms caused by factory farming and unsustainable agricultural practices; opt for local food and support sustainable producers;
- Caution against the toxic composition and limit our use of certain cosmetic, personal care, cleaning, and menstrual hygiene products, thereby reducing their contribution to pollution and ozone depletion;
- Reduce consumption of products that exacerbate deforestation and urge our governments to improve forest ecosystem health and reforest desertified land;
- Protect forests and rainforests, which produce large amounts of oxygen, from fires and destruction;
- Use renewable sources of energy such as hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass when accessible; divest from fossil fuels, mining, and other businesses that profit at the expense of our planet;
- Commit to conserving current energy reserves and sources through sparing usage only when necessary, effectively reducing carbon output and protecting energy security;
- Invest in climate solutions and green jobs, ensuring our industrial transition toward a net-negative economy is just, equitable, and does not leave people and communities behind;
- Integrate climate-resilient infrastructures and business models to reduce the effects of natural disasters;
- Support organizations that strive to reduce negative impact on the environment while actively engaging in innovative and sustainable practices;
- Actively participate in climate-related political processes, maximizing the voice of the people and challenging the influence of profiteers; urge political representatives to understand the pressing nature of the climate crisis and support policies that promote the health of our planet;
- Condemn laws and regulations that deny environmental justice to and disproportionately affect marginalized groups; call attention to the disproportionate effects of climate emergencies on developing countries, especially the Least Developed Countries;
- Mobilize to remedy the disproportionate effects of resource depletion, environmental degradation, and pollution on vulnerable populations, such as indigenous peoples;
- Foster inclusion when addressing the pledges in this Compact, realizing that collaboration within and between communities is crucial in ending the climate crisis;
- Acknowledge all forms of life on Earth, understanding that we are all interconnected in the global ecosystem.
Through this collective agreement, we strive to harness the power of the youth to build a future that is certain and free of the devastation of the climate crisis.
We seek cooperation and support from all generations, governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector in achieving the targets of this compact. Thus, we further our commitment to the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, leaving no one behind.
At the advent of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we request the United Nations Department of Global Communications Civil Society Youth Representatives Programme submit a report on the progress made by young people to address climate change. The unique challenges of our time also present unique opportunities. We remain hopeful that united in action, we can build a sustainable future for all.