Empowering Youth To Face Climate Change

By Cassia Moraes, Fernanda Matsuoka 16 May, 2019

Youth Climate Leaders' Moraes & Matsuoka share a unique experience for youths to become the next generation of climate leaders

Youth Climate Leaders' (YCL) main goal is to empower a diverse group of youths from all over the world with leadership & entrepreneurial skills to be used right now to address climate change
Every year an 'Immersion' is organised, including field trips & placements, to help youths quickly develop their professional skills, learn how to take climate action and make connections
In 2018, YCL has already offered opportunities in Kenya, Germany & Brazil. For 2019, the aim is to increase Field Placements. Plus, they also send delegations to global conferences like COP24

Even though more than half of the world’s population is below 30, youths worldwide face great barriers to land a job or start their own initiatives in the field of climate change. After they are aware of the climate crisis and get the right skills to act, young people still lack funding, networks and legitimacy to have a meaningful contribution.

Youth Climate Leaders wants to build the next gen of climate leaders

Therefore, Youth Climate Leaders (YCL) wants to build the next generation of climate leaders, offering a unique experience for participants: different learning journeys around the world where young people can learn more about climate change in theory, understand it in practice, and work on hands-on projects with other young people to start their careers in this field.

With the YCL programme, the image of young people can be shifted from “leaders of the future” to the “leaders of today.” The main goal is to empower a diverse group of young leaders from all over the world with leadership and entrepreneurial skills to be used right now to address climate change.

Young people today are more concerned about sustainability and climate change issues than previous generations, but that does not mean that their behaviours and lifestyles are in accordance with the beliefs they hold on those topics. As such, the YCL programme works with those concerned young people who have not yet had the opportunity to see how they can act in practice to tackle climate change.

Young people today are more concerned about sustainability & climate change issues than previous generations…

…but that does not mean that their behaviours & lifestyles are in accordance

YCL Immersion – a journey to develop youth skills for a changing climate

Every year YCL organises an “Immersion”, which is the perfect experience to quickly develop the young participants’ professional skills, as they will be able to leave their comfort zones and learn how to take action while living in a multicultural and vibrant environment.

The immersions allows the participants to quickly develop their professional skills & learn how to take action

While they create and apply their own projects, they’ll be able to also create their connections with organisations and other young people. The immersions include field visits to universities, companies, UN agencies, local organizations, NGOs, among others, as well as a field placement assignment after the trip. YCL Immersions have 5 main components:

  1. Multicultural experience, where you can understand in practice how climate change affects different countries while working with people from around the world.
  2. Professional development: a group project for intrapreneurs who want to work in an established organisation, or a tailored curriculum for entrepreneurs and researchers who want to develop their own projects.
  3. Visits and cultural activities: exclusive access to leading organizations and experts from different sectors, together with special tours to explore various countries.
  4. Life and career mentorship: work with facilitators to set up career goals, discover a role within climate change and build the right connections to get there!
  5. Access to opportunities after the programme: such as job vacancies, field placements and delegations to global events.

Last year YCL launched the first Immersion to France and Kenya, a journey where participants visited organisations in the field of climate change and worked on hands-on projects with a local institution in Kenya. YCL proudly received more than 500 applications from 95 countries for this first cohort, which reflects the huge demand young people have for training and professional opportunities in the field of climate change.

For 2019, the second cohort of the YCL Immersion is taking place in Germany and India, a perfect setting for discussing the nexus between climate change and cities. Germany and India are deeply engaged as a partner in various climate-related challenges, and the year 2018 officially marked 60 years of Germany-India development cooperation. Between 2017 and 2022, Germany will provide financial and technical assistance worth €1 billion towards sustainable urban development in India.

For 2019, the 2nd cohort of the YCL Immersion is taking place in Germany & India, who are deeply engaged as a partner in various climate-related challenges

YCL’s growing network

After concluding their journey, participants can join an exclusive network of YCL alumni, a community of practice with members from different countries and diverse experiences working on climate change. The network also includes the YCL team, mentors and partner organizations, who share opportunities and knowledge with other members.

YCL alumni will be empowered to promote the programme in their countries & lead YCL Hubs

Additionally, YCL alumni will be empowered to promote the programme in their countries and lead YCL Hubs, acting as multipliers facilitating educational activities for other young people. Lasting connections with like-minded people from different backgrounds amplify the learning experience of YCL Fellows, as well as their impact as a group.

Facilitating field placements & delegations to global events for youths

Moreover, members of the YCL Network can apply to optional Field Placement assignments with partner organisations, in which participants will have the opportunity to increase their work experience on climate change and use the skills acquired during YCL’s programmes for up to 3 months.

In 2018, YCL has already offered opportunities based in Kenya, Germany and Brazil. For 2019, one of the main goals is to increase Field Placement offerings, which is in high demand. Other opportunities available to YCL Fellows are attending global conferences, such as COP 24, in Poland, to which YCL brought a delegation of 11 young people.

If you are also passionate about making positive world changes and see Climate Change as the biggest human challenge of our time, do reach out to YCL. Together: that’s the only way to implement changes the world need.


Further Reading

  • Treading Water: Corporate Responses To Rising Water Challenges – From setting water targets to engaging value chains, companies are improving key aspects of water management but incremental action is no longer enough. CDP’s James Lott brings us key findings from their latest report
  • China Goes Circular: 6 Success Stories – China is already embracing a circular economy and businesses are following suit so which ones are leading the pack? Nick Jeffries from Ellen MacArthur Foundation expands
  • I Want You To Panic – As we edge closer to a climate crisis, Thanos from Avengers Endgame doesn’t seem so crazy anymore. Hear what China Water Risk’s Woody Chan has to say for his generation & children everywhere
  • Inside The World’s First Museum Of Climate Change In HK – It is the world’s first museum of climate change but what does it really do? Take a brief tour with its director Cecilia Lam and explore its four key initiatives from education activities to an action monitor
  • No Planet B: HK’s School Strike For Climate Action – As the strike wound down we caught up with one of the speakers, South Island School’s Adele Lo, to find out her views on climate change and inaction in Hong Kong. Could she be our Greta Thunberg?
  • Water Quality From On-Ground: Huang Long Xian Village Case – Jerry Jiang, Wanying Na and Zhenzhen Xu from the Alliance for Water Stewardship showcase their education pilot and explain how it has raised awareness on ground & improved local water quality in China
  • Youth & Water – 3 Key Takeaways from Egypt & Stockholm – China Water Risk intern Alex Whitebrook shares key takeaways from his recent trips for the World Youth Parliament for Water. See what’s on their minds
  • 2018 World Water Week: Key Takeaways – World Water Week 2018 saw exciting issues discussed from financing nature-based solutions to advancing water stewardship & valuing water. Check out more in our key takeaways from China Water Risk’s Woody Chan & Yuanchao Xu
  • Water: Habits & Actions – What are your water habits? Even giving up chocolate for one week can positively impact our waters as Patricia Dwyer, Founder & Director of The Purpose Business Group, tells us. See what other changes you can make

Cassia Moraes
Author: Cassia Moraes
Cassia has expertise in sustainable development and international cooperation, and holds a MPA in Development Practice degree from Columbia University. Currently, she works at the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change, a multi-stakeholder organization that advises the country’s government. Cassia has also worked at CIVICUS, the Brazilian Mission at the UN, the UNDP, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), where she facilitated the “2014 Amazon Summer School” and assisted Professor Jeffrey Sachs’ course “The Age of Sustainable Development”.
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Fernanda Matsuoka
Author: Fernanda Matsuoka
Fernanda has a degree from the Hotel Management School and holds a MBA from Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV). Fernanda works at the travel industry since 2005 and wants to share her passion for traveling with the world. Throughout her career, she had the opportunity to experience different hotels and visit more than 40 countries. She is currently working as the Sales Manager of De L’Europe Amsterdam.
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