ECO-UNESCO's Youth Voices

The purpose of this initiative is to be the voice and include the voice of young people on issues related to the environment. We’ve taken thoughts, quotes, survey responses and videos from young people that have been involved and benefited from any of ECO-UNESCO’s programmes.

Young people’s voices matter and we are ready to stand up and speak out with them!

I’m only 20 years old and I’ve already seen a huge change in the Irish climate in the last 10 years. The weather is more extreme and the seasons are messed up.

"My principles have led me to become an environmentalist"

As a young person today, it is very hard to not feel impacted by climate change. We are the generation who will be forced to live in a world irreversibly changed by the carelessness of older generations.

Being a young environmentalist provides you with the tools and opportunities you need.

Climate change is something that is often on my mind. It is a cause of anxiety for me at time that I try not to think about these days - I care deeply about the environment and climate justice and it is a source of stress for me thinking about it excessively. For other things in life that are a source of anxiety you can tackle mostly on personal level but climate anxiety is something I can do little about. There is only so much an individual to do. The real action is at government level and to date I feel very let down by governments in not addressing the biggest issue we will face in our lifetimes.

I am a young environmentalist because I want to make a positive difference to the earth.

I have come a long way from a 16-year-old not being able to speak in class to now running the Friday for Future group in my area and representing Ireland at a UN forum.

The voices of the Youth for Sustainable Development Programme.

Instead of imposing heavy taxes on young drivers, fix the public transport network, fix the traffic chaos of the city centre (stop start traffic is worse for the environment than consistent speed driving) and offer young people incentives to help (i.e. tax relief for carbon offsetting)

Youth for Sustainable development is the perfect programme for young people who want to get involved in environment/climate action or just learn about these topics. You do not need to have any prior knowledge or experience as everyone learns along the way together. That is one great thing about this programme, everyone learns from each other. The facilitators are great and really friendly which makes the programme all the more enjoyable. Along the way, you make lots of new friends from different parts of the country and the programme can open up lots of different opportunities for you. I would highly recommend this programme, as it has opened so much different opportunities for me.

Hi, my name is James. I am a Transition Year student at Drogheda Grammar School. I am also a member of the Drogheda Youth for Sustainable Development Club. I decided to do my work experience placement at ECO-UNESCO because I found the work I was doing there and the skills I was learning to be beneficial for my knowledge of becoming a more sustainable citizen. I also wanted to learn more about how ECO-UNESCO facilitates and teaches young people about the ecology around them and how interconnected the world is. 

During my week of work experience, I enjoyed helping to make Youth for Sustainable Development (YSD) summer camp plans for the lead coordinator Aisling, and I was helping to create promotional material for the YSD summer camp. I also appreciated the opportunity to run errands and learn about the organisation and structure of the YSD programme. I enjoyed furthering my knowledge of the UN sustainable development goals. 

The work experience taught me valuable skills, including how to properly manage my time, set up a summer camp, use Microsoft SharePoint, research QQI courses, and perform market research. I also learned about the different roles there are in the organisation and the vast range of resources it offers to young people.  

I was surprised by the broad role of a YSD coordinator and the different areas of expertise required for this job. Additionally, I was impressed by the number of people ECO-UNESCO reaches and the longevity of the organisation, which I initially thought was only ten years old but has been around for 37 years. 

Working at ECO-UNESCO has helped me to become more eco-conscious, and I have improved my organisational skills, computer skills, and ability to complete projects and create plans I also learned leadership skills as well as how to become more creative and think outside the box. I also learned how to adapt to the different type of work I was asked to do over the course of the week, and I also helped to further develop my communication skills. 

This work experience has opened up several potential career paths for me, including environmental sciences, where I can learn more about the planet, geography, and the causes and solutions to climate change and how this affects the wider world and howI am also interested in pursuing a career in environmental law, as I am passionate about protecting the environment and the animals who call it their home. I believe that changing laws and legislation is the key to preserving and protecting the planet for many generations to come because unless the laws change then there will always be a threat to the environment. 

Not only did we have a great time with our project, but we learned so much! We feel that we really made a difference in the environment and we will continue with our project in the future.

Why I Am A Young Environmentalist? Because I care.