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A reflection on climate justice conversations with young adults

By Hoor Al-Amin on October 26, 2023

How do young adults experience and engage with climate justice around the world? and how can we effectively communicate about the topic? Hoor Al-Amin joined our SPARK partners and 100 young climate activists and communicators for the Ticket to the Future train journey from Paris to Barcelona where she swapped stories and shared insights on talking about climate justice.

In this blog and video, Hoor shares her reflections and thoughts from hearing about people’s experiences with climate justice and revisits our research insights on how to effectively communicate on the topic with young adults.

Ticket To The Future Barcelona

A couple of weeks ago, I joined our partners in the EU-funded SPARK consortium on the ‘Ticket to the Future’ train journey from Paris to Barcelona, to talk about climate justice with 100 young adults from around the world who are active communicators and influencers. In Barcelona, we put the recommendations from Climate Outreach’s recent climate justice work into practice and I ran a workshop to share our insights on communicating climate justice, where young activists also shared their own experiences and stories in this inspiring space.

A climate justice lens explores climate change from the perspective of historical responsibility, accountability, and fairness. Climate Outreach extensively explored what climate justice means for young adults in Europe in a 2-year long audience research project. We analysed the results, tested narratives, and understood how we can better communicate climate justice with young adults in Europe. 

Here are some reflections and thoughts about those experiences, as we revisit our research and explore the way forward. 

Climate justice looks different from one part of the world to another, but solidarity is constant

During our workshop in Barcelona, we asked participants to openly share their stories, concerns, and how they have encountered climate justice in their lives, without being afraid of judgement or invalidation. The contrasting stories provided room for the activists to support each other with valuable advice. 

For example, I spoke to someone from West Papua who spoke about how local communities in his country have lost lands and livelihoods due to various climate change impacts. On the other hand, one person from Greece spoke about how she’s been losing her friends because of her outspoken activism about climate justice online. She spoke about how this discourages her from continuing to speak about climate change, and leaves her feeling lonely and powerless. Despite the stark contrast in experiencing climate justice, both participants stood in solidarity and compassion with one another and encouraged each other to continue sharing these very important stories and messages.  

Listen to voices from the global south

We listened to a university student from Ireland who brought a unique perspective to a conversation on indigenous knowledge during our train journey to Barcelona. She was concerned about the role of research in providing knowledge to communities in the global north. She critically questioned the research of western institutions and charities and asked her fellow activists to be more aware when thinking of solutions. She discussed the importance of listening to communities in the global south about their perspectives, needs, and proposed solutions, instead of unilaterally assuming what those solutions should be based on northern experiences and values.

This interesting take led us to reflect on our own research at Climate Outreach and think about how we can build on it. To ensure our commitment to fair and equitable climate justice research and conversation, we believe that voices in the global south must also be heard in the same way. We need to have the same conversations with young adults in the global south, and understand what they think about climate justice, how they envision the future, and what their proposed solutions are.

Listen to young voices

This has been said many times before, and here we are saying it again: young adults are the architects of our future! They have fresh ideas and are eager to explore different visions for the future. They also have immense capacity for solidarity and care, are eager to collectively build a more equal world, and have valid concerns that they want to address. 

That is why young adults should be included in climate justice conversations at all levels. They are able to create spaces to unleash their creativity in imaginative ways to transform our societies. After all, 81% of young adults in Europe surveyed in our research agree that we need to transform society and change how our economy works to tackle climate change. 

Our insights on effectively communicating climate justice

In Climate Outreach’s messaging guide on how to communicate climate justice with young adults in Europe, based on a two-year audience research project, we provide three key recommendations: 

  1. Build awareness and understanding of the concept of climate justice by giving a clear definition for the term, establishing connections between concepts like colonialism and climate change, and telling personal and relatable conversations about climate justice. 
  2. Bring people together in solidarity by appealing to their strong belief in equity, care, and fairness. 
  3. Offer different versions of the future by focusing on ideas and inspiration, openly discussing solutions and possibilities for action, and actively exploring channels of transformation. 

The conversation on climate justice can be confusing to many. Like people in the global south, younger generations have contributed the least to climate change, but will be living with the worst of its effects. Therefore, we see room for more research to be done, to build understanding and suggest effective communication tactics with diverse audiences. 

* In this blog, we use ‘global south’ and ‘global north’ to describe the countries affected by histories of colonisation and global economic power imbalances. We are aware these are contested terms, and use them here as the best available wording to concisely describe these country groupings. 

These outputs are part of SPARK, a four-year European Union funded project to build the awareness, capacity and active engagement of European Union citizens, particularly young adults, with efforts to bring about climate justice. SPARK is delivered by a consortium of 20 civil society organisations across 13 European countries. See:

These have been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of these outputs are the sole responsibility of Climate Outreach and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

Reports & guides

Reports & guides

Communicating climate justice with young adults in Europe | Messaging guide

By Hoor Al-Amin

Hoor was the SPARK Coordinator Contractor at Climate Outreach in 2023, working with the advocacy communication programme and SPARK Consortium partners to share research findings on climate justice and European youth.

Coming from one of the world’s most water-scarce countries, and having witnessed the impact of climate change on some of the most vulnerable communities, Hoor took up an interest in environmental studies. As a water and environmental engineer, Hoor volunteered at a refugee camp delivering WASH services in Jordan. This on-ground experience sparked her interest in communicating with people and engaging with communities. To build on this experience, Hoor joined Oxfam’s policy, influencing, and advocacy team in Jordan where she supported the delivery of local environmental research and campaigns, in addition to providing evidence-based research to inform policy-making and climate justice programming. With an MSc in Environmental Planning and Management from IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Hoor continues to learn about our changing environment.

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