According to the latest World Economic Forum Global Shapers Annual Survey, which covers more than 30,000 individuals under the age of 30 from 186 countries, climate change and the destruction of nature remain the biggest global concerns for young people around the world.
Put clearly, our planet is under threat, and we know it.
That’s why members of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community launched Voice for the Planet at the Annual Meeting 2019 in Davos. It’s a global activation campaign calling on governments, businesses and the global public to take immediate action to safeguard our world. I spoke with some of our most inspiring Global Shapers on what they are doing to create a greener and better future.
“The young generation takes action on social and environmental issues as a matter of course – the same way we breathe," says Akira Sakano, a Global Shaper from the Osaka Hub. "But we also need everyone on board.”
Akira is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Zero Waste Academy, a non-profit located in Kamikatsu, a Japanese village garnering headlines around the world for its ambition to become the first zero-waste town by 2020. Today, more than 80% of the village’s waste is kept out of landfill.
Akira demonstrates the power of open, participatory and collective action. Rather than waiting for environmental risks to be solved top-down, young people are adopting a do-it-ourselves attitude to actively shape the systems and structures destroying nature.
Just look at the number of young people leading climate change strikes worldwide. We’re doing our part and calling on others to do the same.
We’re also offering solutions.
Take Basima Abdulrahman. She runs a green design and construction initiative in Iraq, a country trying to rebuild after decades of war. “By building green, we can reduce the impact our buildings have on the planet,” she says. “It starts with one person deciding to do things differently.”
Or Jaideep Bansal. He is the Energy Access Leader of the Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) and is working to electrify remote mountain communities using solar micro grids. He has worked to electrify 85 villages reaching over 35,000 people. “Renewable energy is the future,” he says. “It not only reduces emissions but also helps to secure the livelihoods of communities often left behind.”
These are just some of the ways young people around the world are fighting climate change and protecting nature. We’re committing to live sustainably and taking action to mobilise our companies and communities to do more.
What is a Global Shaper?
The Global Shapers Community is a network of young people under the age of 30 who are working together to drive dialogue, action and change to address local, regional and global challenges.
The community spans more than 8,000 young people in 165 countries and territories.
Teams of Shapers form hubs in cities where they self-organize to create projects that address the needs of their community. The focus of the projects are wide-ranging, from responding to disasters and combating poverty, to fighting climate change and building inclusive communities.
Examples of projects include Water for Life, a effort by the Cartagena Hub that provides families with water filters that remove biological toxins from the water supply and combat preventable diseases in the region, and Creativity Lab from the Yerevan Hub, which features activities for children ages 7 to 9 to boost creative thinking.
Each Shaper also commits personally and professionally to take action to preserve our planet.
“The biggest challenge of our time, requires the biggest solution,” say Robyn Seetal and Carlo Delantar, Co-Chairs of the Global Shapers Climate Action Steering Committee and founders of Voice for the Planet. “Together, in collaboration with the environmental movement and a growing number of business, political and social leaders, we can create lasting change”