YouthXchange guidebook on climate change and lifestyles guidebook
UNESCO/UNEP, 2011Every day, young people are exposed to numerous images and messages that promote models of unbridled consumption as the key to happy and fulfilling lives. In reality, however, the impacts of this unsustainable consumption are extremely harmful, contributing to climate change and other environmental challenges, such as rising sea levels, water shortages and food insecurity.
The world’s youth will have a significant role to play if we are to bring about the widespread behavioural change needed to shift towards more sustainable lifestyles and consumption habits. It is important for young people to understand that behind over-consumption lies increased exploitation of resources, rising poverty, widening inequalities and persistent conflicts, all of which will worsen with climate change and eventually will minimize their opportunities for a better and sustainable future. The poorest of the poor, those who cannot consume enough to meet their basic needs, are the worst hit by climate change. Most of these are young people under 24, who make up nearly half of the world’s population,
with most living in developing countries.