A survey conducted by the IRENA indicates that 8 out of 10 young people worldwide are concerned about climate change, while 13% are not interested. According to a survey conducted by UNESCO, this percentage is 67% of the general population; thus, youth is more concerned about climate change. More than 70% of young people think that climate change policies in their country are not enough, and, more importantly, 65% of them consider that their opinion is not being considered.
In Mexico, surveys do not usually ask for the age of the respondents to establish differences in their opinions. In a 2017 survey, authors distinguish between the 15-64 years population and those over 65, finding that 98% of the people in the first group consider that the climate has changed in their locality, but for the elderly, 24.4% consider that it has not changed. The perception of how different factors affect climate change (use of fossil fuels, deforestation, agriculture) was asked, and older people were less aware of the risks.
However, since 2014 there have been public initiatives that seek to include young people in strategies to fight climate change, like the National Youth Program (Projuventud) 2014 – 2018. The government highlights the importance of the vision of young people, but their perception of youth is that they are not being listened to as they should be. In 2019 several young Mexicans joined the Global Climate Strike. A concentration of more than 200 people took place in front of the Jalisco Congress. As a contrast between the opinion of the young people and that of the adults, one of the attendees mentions that her father does not think it is suitable for her to go on strike because he believes they are the cause of conflicts. This shows that the perspective of action of young people and adults is different since many do not agree with active “rebellion” actions by youth.
In 2020, the National Summit of Youth for Climate Mexico was held and involved more than 30 youth organizations. The summit, which was also held in 2021, brought together more than 30 organizations that seek to create a safe space for dialogue for Mexican youth concerned about the political inaction on climate matters that exist in our country. Its main contribution was to generate proposals for the government, including the voice of different minorities; that is, to combat, mitigate and spread knowledge about climate change so that young people could get involved in decision-making.
In 2022 young people took action against the reform of the Electricity Industry Law. Their movement, “Nuestro Futuro,” presented a document to the Supreme Court of Mexico that expressed the permanent threat that climate change has in their lives and pointed out that the electricity reform law threatens the policies to reduce CO2 emissions in Mexico.
Current policies in Mexico are based on the “energy sovereignty” of the country and eliminate the Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Hydrocarbons Commission. These measures have been highly criticized by young environmental activists, mainly because they would make the country heavily dependent on non-renewable energy.
Youth activists in Mexico are seeking to influence government climate policies through education, public campaigns, and litigation, and are especially looking to persuade the government to support renewable energy, protect biodiversity and the water supply, and promote sustainable lifestyles.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Mexico Country Manager Pablo David Necoechea Porras