Global Action Plan Ireland welcomes European Year of Youth

The European Union has declared 2022 the Year of Youth, in recognition of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on young people, and in tribute to the resilience and solidarity shown by young Europeans throughout the pandemic.

“By focusing attention on young people, the EU hopes to help younger citizens to regain a sense of control over their lives; lives which have been disrupted by the Covid pandemic,” said Hans Zomer, CEO of Global Action Plan Ireland, an environmental NGO based in Ballymun, Dublin.

The pandemic has impacted severely on young people, affecting their education, personal development and mental health. In addition, they are facing the prospect of inheriting a world in which the decisions of previous generations have resulted in dangerous levels of damage to our natural environment and global climate. In this context, it is important to create space for the voices of young people to be heard, and listened to, so that urgent action can be taken,” continued Zomer.

The European Year of Youth aims to present positive perspectives for young people, for instance by “highlighting the opportunities that arise from the green and digital transitions,” and by mainstreaming youth policy across all relevant policy fields.

In our experience, young people are greatly concerned about the climate crisis, but many young people – in particular young men – feel excluded from conversations about climate change. They are often reluctant to engage in public discussions, partly because they don’t feel knowledgeable enough, and partly because they don’t feel their views will be taken seriously. The European Year is an outstanding opportunity to change that, and to spotlight opportunities for young people’s voices to be heard,” said Hans Zomer, who heads up Global Action Plan Ireland.

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Global Action Plan runs a number of programmes in schools, empowering students to discover their potential as agents of change. GAP also provides youth gardening and Green Living workshops, as well as programmes helping participants discover the beauty of their local environment, and its linkages with global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and inequality.

Read more about why young people often feel excluded from conversations about climate change here.

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