What is the right age to start social engagement in the field of inclusive and sustainable mobility? The increasing number of young advocates shows: the right age is “as soon as possible”! It is not all about the age, it’s all about the desire to bring inclusive and sustainable mobility forward. Here are some examples of social engagement of the youth in inclusive and sustainable mobility.
Not only does the Youth work on climate action concepts, it is also taking governments to court. This is the case with the world’s only non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to securing the legal rights of youth to a healthy atmosphere and safe climate, called Our Children’s Trust (Our Children’s Trust/a 501(c)3). A group of 21 plaintiffs aged 9-20 from Eugene, Oregon, thus, took the US government to court “for burning fossil fuels” (Global Citizen/“9 Young Activists Who Are Making A Difference In The World Today”/2017).
Our Children’s Trust also supported another youth organization, known as the Earth Guardians to raise a protest against Obama and the government as well as the Trump administration (Global Citizen/”This Latest Lawsuit Against Trump Could Be the Hardest Hitting Yet”/2017). One of the activists, Jacob Lebel, said: “Our case is a direct constitutional challenge to a Trump administration at war with the reality of climate change and bent on pushing a deadly fossil fuel agenda at the expense of its citizens’ safety and human rights” (Global Citizen/“This Latest Lawsuit Against Trump Could Be the Hardest Hitting Yet”/2017).
Our Children’s Trust aims at representing and supporting of young advocates worldwide to launch government action on climate change in their own countries. One of its goals is to ensure state action in order to reduce CO2 emissions to 350 ppm and to mitigate adverse effects of Climate Change on cultural and human rights (Our Children's Trust Submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights and Climate Change/May 2020). As the submission published by the organization puts it: “Carbon dioxide emission reductions of approximately 80% by 2030 and close to 100% by 2050 are necessary to keep long-term warming to 1°C and the atmospheric CO2 concentration to 350 ppm. To achieve these reductions, states must immediately cease actions supporting industries that extract, process, transport and burn fossil fuels, such as oil, gas, and coal, and must implement comprehensive climate recovery plans, programs, and policies to rapidly reduce GHG emissions in line with this trajectory.” Our Children's Trust is succeeding in support of the locally-led partner efforts by providing legal, outreach, and communications assistance and expertise.
Another example of Youth Advocacy in the field of inclusive and sustainable mobility is the organization called Youth For Public Transport (Y4PT), an international non-governmental youth organization (NGO) promoting the active participation of young people in sustainable mobility advocacy, by promoting the integrated use of public transport with other means of transport, to achieve greater well-being and a better quality of life of all people around the world (Youth For Public Transport/About us).
The idea of Y4PT was generated by UITP, with the aim to involve more young people in the decision-making process in the field of sustainable and inclusive mobility. Nowadays, Y4PT is an international NGO that is working for equal and non-discriminatory access to mobility worldwide, by particularly focusing on education, knowledge and participation and on the production and dissemination of innovation (Youth For Public Transport/Y4PT at a Glance).
However, the youth campaigns do not necessarily need to be global to have a huge impact on inclusive and sustainable mobility. National and local initiatives change people’s lives to the better as well!
Youth for Change Bangladesh Campaign (YfC) against harassment on public transport, thus, became one of the world’s most successful youth campaigns. Youth for Change Bangladesh started its campaign against sexual harassment and gender-based violence on public transport, after the rape and murder of a law student named Rupa Khatun on a bus in Dhaka in 2017 (Plan International/The World’s best Youth Campaigns – And Why They Worked). The campaign started at a right point when sexual harassment incidents were in the center of attention on social media. YfC used social media to collect data about the experiences of Bangladeshi women while using public transport to validate their experiences of harassment. They held public dialogues with policymakers and made a video encouraging men to speak out against harassment when they see it, which was shared widely and won a national award (Plan International/The World’s best Youth Campaigns – And Why They Worked).
On the occasion of the World Youth Skills Day we would like to conclude: It’s not all about the age, it’s all about the desire to bring inclusive and sustainable mobility forward! There is no right age or any exact point in time we should start our social engagement in inclusive and sustainable mobility. But we know for sure – the best time to act is right now!
Our Children’s Trust/Global legal Actions/ a 501(c)3). URL: https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/global-legal-actions
Our Children's Trust Submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights and Climate Change/ May 2020/URL: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/571d109b04426270152febe0/t/5eb20395472e681f59f4fe15/1588724643712/OCT+Submission+to+the+UN+Special+Rapporteur+on+Cultural+Rights+and+Climate+Change.pdf
Global Citizen/“9 Young Activists Who Are Making A Difference In The World Today”/2017/ URL: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/7-badass-youth-activists-you-didnt-know-are-changi/?template=next
Global Citizen/”This Latest Lawsuit Against Trump Could Be the Hardest Hitting Yet”/2017/ URL: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/this-latest-lawsuit-against-trump-could-be-the-har/?template=next
Youth For Public Transport/About us/ URL: https://www.y4pt.org/about-us/
Youth For Public Transport/Y4PT at a Glance/ URL: https://www.y4pt.org/about-us/at-a-glance/
Plan International/The World’s best Youth Campaigns – And Why They Worked/ URL: https://plan-international.org/girls-get-equal/best-youth-led-campaigns