Jakarta. The recent Youth 20 or Y20 forum in Balikpapan highlighted how young people, who are the present and future inhabitants of the world we live in, play a crucial role in building a sustainable and livable planet.
Cimate change and biodiversity loss have painted a grim picture of the Earth’s present condition. The current state of the planet has concerned many young people across the globe, including in G20 economies, which are a major contributor to the global greenhouse gas emissions.
The youth’s growing worry over climate change, coupled with the worsening planet, have set the background for the third pre-summit of Y20 Indonesia 2022 in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, this weekend. Young delegates from G20 countries, invitees, as well as local youth gathered to exchange ideas about building a sustainable and livable planet.
Y20 Indonesia 2022 co-chair Indra Dwi Prasetyo called for an immediate action to tackle climate change. Indra warned how the planetary systems had neared its breaking point. He went on to say that the planet can no longer support the current way of living — be it our resource overuse, excessive waste generation, or linear economy.
“The youth’s power, voice, network, and connection should be leveraged by this forum to help forge the path of reconnection with nature for a sustainable and livable future for all. I also believe youth is not all about the future. We are the present ourselves,” Indra said when kicking off the Y20 Indonesia third pre-summit in Balikpapan on Saturday.
According to Jonni Mardizal, the acting secretary at the Youth and Sport Ministry, environmental issues should matter to the young generation, as they would inhabit the planet for the many years ahead.
“If we do not find the solution to the current environmental issues, it will undoubtedly threaten mankind. Young people’s lives will also be in danger,” Jonni said.
Satu Kahkonen, the World Bank country director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste, said that making the planet a better place to live would require a whole-of-society approach.
“The youth is a critical part of this movement. We stand ready to work with you to explore innovative ideas, tackle climate change, and provide tools to build and engage in impactful activities,” Satu told the conference.
Indonesia has set a goal of reaching net zero emission by 2060 or sooner. The Southeast Asean country is also aiming for an energy transition, with renewables targeted to account for 23 percent of the country’s energy mix by 2025.
According to Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, the young people will become the workforce that help drive Indonesia’s energy transition.
“As future successors, the young generation are expected to play a big role in overcoming the current environmental crisis,” Siti said, while praising youth’s myriad of positive traits ranging from creativity, high social awareness to the courage to express their opinions.
“Our continuous work in the field shows the young generation is increasingly and actively involved in climate-related actions and the transition to clean energy,” the minister added.
Convincing the G20 Leaders
The G20 represents more than 80 percent of the world gross domestic product (GDP). OECD data shows the G20 accounts for 80 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions.
Indonesia is presiding over the G20 this year, with the summit scheduled for November in Bali. The Y20 delegates will present its recommendations on saving the planet, among other things, to the G20 leaders.
The G20 as a platform has the ability to shape how major economies set their priorities for the future. But the challenge that the world is facing today is how to strike a balance between development and nature, according to Joseph D'Cruz, the chief executive officer of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
"Balancing priorities is a question of understanding and negotiating the tradeoffs between priorities: how and when do we develop, what do you preserve," D'Cruz told the Y20 Indonesia third pre-summit.
"One thing that the Y20 can take into the G20 discussions is a very clear understanding that the decisions they make have implications and tradeoffs, bringing to that conversation the perspective of the tradeoffs for the people who will inhabit the planet for the next fifty to hundred years," he said.
Yes, Young People Worry Over Climate Change
Between Aug. and Sep. 2021, Indonesia Youth Diplomacy (IYD) and digital insights firm Cint surveyed 5,700 youths aged 16-30 across G20 countries. The IYD published the survey on the Y20 Summit 2022 White Paper.
According to the survey, some 45 percent of the respondents said they very often thought about the current state of the planet. About 31 percent of the G20 youths found that the thinking was initiated by the environmental issues happening in their country which were affecting them personally. Climate ranked as the environmental issue the G20 youths considered most urgent, with 61 percent of the respondents in agreement.
Another survey also illustrated the youth’s climate anxiety.
A 2020 BBC Newsround survey revealed nearly 3 out of 4 young people (73 percent) were worried about the state of the planet right now. About 64 percent of the respondents said they didn’t believe people in power were listening to them enough when they did talk about it. The BBC Newsround survey saw participation from 2,000 young people aged between 8 and 16 years old.