iMatter Kids vs. Global Warming: A Youth-led Initiative to Fight Climate Change

Environment and Public Space, Participation and Self-expression

Over the next few months, Equity for Children will be publishing on our website a series of innovative case studies about children and youth engagement on climate change. The case studies will explore the role of young people in promoting policy action on climate change as well as in providing solutions for greater resilience. The studies will highlight original mitigation and adaptation initiatives, including those that are child and youth-led and where young people are making a catalytic contribution to sustainable environment and policy action.

The case studies are being developed in the run-up to the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 in Paris, in November 2015, within the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The objective is to raise awareness among the climate change community on the importance and value of young people’s engagement and to provide child and youth organizations with practical examples of how young people can make a substantive contribution to creating resilient environments and policy action.

The case studies inform and accompany an event, hosted by Equity for Children in partnership with The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center, on climate change and young people’s engagement on November 19 at The New School.  For more information about the event and to watch the video please click here.

Our first case study highlights the work of iMatter Kids vs. Global Warming.  iMatter began as a simple presentation by a 12-year old boy, Alec Loorz, who wanted to take on climate change denial and engage other young people in demanding action.  The initiative quickly grew from school presentations and community projects to a national campaign, global youth marches and groundbreaking  judicial and legal action.  The movement has inspired thousands of young people in 43 countries to become involved.  In partnership with Our Children’s Trust, lawsuits have been brought by young activists, at the federal and state level, requiring the US government to reduce carbon emissions.  iMatter is entering a new phase in 2015, with plans to engage children across the country in holding their communities accountable for reducing carbon emissions.

iMatter has been highlighted by Equity for Children as an exceptional initiative, both for the degree to which it has been driven and led by young people, and for the ambition of the movement’s goals. While there are a large number of organizations that educate and engage children and youth on climate change, there are few that have been established by children for children – with a sustained commitment to empowering young leaders. Likewise, few climate movements mobilize young people as activists with the urgency and focus that iMatter brings to the global debate.

“iMatter’s mission empowers youth to become the voice of the climate crisis so that our society wakes up and actually begins to live as if our future matters.  We believe that the revolution that is needed begins in the hearts, actions and voices of those most impacted by the crisis:  the youth” (Alec Loorz, Founder, Kids vs. Global Warming) (1).

Read the full case study here.

And, watch the video of iMatter’s story:

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