Youth today shaping Cohesion Policy for tomorrow - Episode 1

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09/03/2021

Youth&Cohesion

 

There is a very good reason for engaging youth in initiatives such as policymaking. Throughout history, young people have played a central role in the awareness and evolution of our democracy, our societies and our civilisations.

This series focuses on initiatives being taken by the young generation linked to Cohesion and regional policies, as well as other EU policymaking.

From a manifesto produced by young European volunteers, to articles written by young journalists focusing on EU actions and co-financed projects, this generation is active and vocal about its concerns for the future. While some are working on a ‘just transition’ to a green Europe, others are communicating with their social media followers about sustainable EU projects in their country and challenging their audience to adopt a greener lifestyle.

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Ding Dong! Ready for the green challenge?

 

Climate change is real and must be addressed by everyone. No generation is more invested in and aware of this than Gen Z. Young Europeans are organising through movements such as ‘Fridays for Future’, for example, to adopt greener lifestyles and inspire both their peers and the older generation to proactively care about the environment.

The EU is implementing many different policy actions to address climate change and has made a greener Europe a priority through the European Green Deal. Often, however, these individual and constitutional efforts towards a greener future go unnoticed by the Concerted efforts are essential to achieving sustainable change, which is what the Green Trip is all .

By sending 15 influencers on trips in five European Member States (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Lithuania and Portugal), we have showcased inspiring EU-supported initiatives working towards a greener Europe to an audience with relatively little awareness of EU-funded projects in their respective regions.

At the same time, these influencers challenged their followers (and vice versa) to change their behaviour and adopt a greener lifestyle. The influencers included both eco-savvy champions for sustainability as well as newcomers to sustainable topics who all presented their own ideas on how to make the future of Europe greener. 

 

They discovered EU-supported projects that protect biodiversity, promote eco-tourism, enable sustainable fashion projects and a host of other sustainable initiatives. At the same time, they challenged their followers to have a greener Christmas, check their household for dangerous chemicals or simply to adopt some very small tips to be greener at home.

In 2021, the campaign continues with further green challenges split in thematic months: Housing, Producing, Preservation, Moving and Eating. Some of the influencers also e-met Climate Pact ambassadors and had a live chat with Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans about the need of both individual and institutional efforts towards a greener future for Europe. The campaign will launch a series of national webinars and a toolkit for schools in the target countries, with the toolkit also translated in all EU languages.

The message of this initiative is clear – both institutional and individual efforts are needed to tackle an issue as important as climate change. At the same time, we want to show young Europeans that they are not in this alone. Many initiatives to combat climate change will continue to be supported by the EU, and individual contributions are often much easier, and much more fun, than you thought!