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Youth, youth, and youth again. Many people said youth have much energy to save our earth. What can we really do to utilise our youth?

At the International Civil Society Week, Fiji, 4-7 December, 2017, Brianna Fruean, Climate Change Advocated for Samoa spoke about how to develop and strengthen the voice of young people.

Brianna was born on May 18, 1998 in Auckland, New Zealand. She started her environment and climate change campaign at 11 years old. Now, she is activist at 350 Pacific Youth organization. This campaign consists of climate change warriors from around the Pacific. They rise to peacefully protect the Pacific Islands from climate change. How does she promote the engagement and increased awareness of young people in climate action?

According to Brianna, storytelling is a key to build young people’s confidence in this area, and young people have a responsibility to save Earth. Brianna continues to develop and strengthen the voice of young people in the Pacific on the key issues of environment and climate change through a variety of activities including visiting schools and teaching children and youth about climate change and empowering them to be agents of social change.

“We are young, we tackle climate justice from its grassroots,” Brianna said.

When young people are brave and bold to speak out on the way climate change affects them they can spread the news on social media and through online publications. Today, we have various media platforms, safe spaces for being climate advocates. Brianna believes climate campaigns to build the capacity of young people are important. Young people speaking to young people is a valuable tool for building the climate movement, in togetherness. This is vital for the strength of climate storytelling.

Brianna is only 19 years old and she was one of 70 women chosen by the Pacific Community (formerly the South Pacific Commission) to participate in its 70th-anniversary celebrations.

Brianna Fruean, Climate Change Advocated for Samoa speaks about how to develop and strengthen the voice of young people in the International Civil Society Week, Fiji on 4-7 December 2017.

How we encourage them to speak?

She started her movement by encouraging kids in villages to build composting and recycling spots in their school and tree planting. It is all about what our kids can do in their villages that also support their teachers and parents. “Please start now, give a student five minutes to share everything in the front of the class. It will become amazing to their future,” she explained.

Brianna encouraged participants to allow the children to share their opinions from a young age. Prompt them to think critically about the environment and climate change so they will try to analyze and communications the issues.

“If we educate young people, young people will educate you, Brianna said. Keep it simple and fun, use movement.

How to face barriers?

Sometimes, young people put up barriers. Brianna urged participants, if they close the door, find the other doors. If they say no, search for other ways to reach them until they say yes. “Don’t give up! she exclaimed.

In the other session, Chris Wright, Director of ClimateTracker gave some tips to storytellers. These include:

  • Don’t limit your potential.
  • Invest in ambition, not experience.
  • Invest in the management infrastructure you need to make your engagement powerful.
  • Invest in interpersonal outreach. If you want someone to do something valuable, treat them like they are valuable.
  • Train your storytellers to be better but also incentivize them to get better.

3 Tips for making “Stories” better such as:

  • Your audience is dynamic.
  • Play with your perspectives and experiment with new narratives.
  • Meet your audience where they are, not where you want them to be.
Dwi Jayanthi

About Dwi Jayanthi

Dwi is a Balinese woman passionate on youth community, environment and journalism. She graduated with a degree in chemistry.