How Future Generations Can Carry The Torch Of Climate Change Action

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Thursday, December 3 marked an important day in the two-week long agenda at the global climate negotiations in Paris, France.

Future Generations Day pays homage to those who will inherit the world which we have created.

While we are already feeling the threats of climate change from the floods in South Carolina to the droughts and fires of California, the most severe symptoms changing planet will not occur till mid to late century, according to scientists.

By then, many of the leaders here in Paris will be gone and only their actions will speak for them.

By mid-century, many of us young adults will have families, established careers and be looking forward to our children’s adventures out into the world.

While this will not be the case for all Millennials, the biggest question remains: What will their world look like?

In our own lifetime, we have already seen a rise in extreme weather events, crises caused by droughts and catastrophic sea level rise, which has all occurred with only .7 degrees Celsius of warming.

It is safe to assume that at two degrees warmer, it will no longer feel like we're living in the same planet we grew up in.

It will be up to the Millennial generation to adapt and provide the solutions needed for future generations. We have to be the ones who act.

In Paris, it's clear Millennials have taken this message far and wide.

The youth constituency is one of the best politically organized, strategic and democratic structures here at the negotiations. Delegations focused on youth engagement, like UKYCC, CYC, SustainUS, AYICC and many more, are starting to play a crucial role in moving the policy.

Millennials have even made their way into government delegations, but still there is more room for growth.

In a briefing to COP21 attendees, the UNFCCC Executive Secretariate, Christiana Figueres called for future negotiations to have youth representation on each state delegation.

In the US, there has been a groundswell of young entrepreneurs focused on the next wave of innovation and social ventures. While some have found their way to the negotiations, these young leaders are severely underrepresented.

The policy framework is being negotiated here in Paris needs the vision, determination and resourcefulness that has made so many young leaders successful.

This is proven by all the clean tech accelerators, startup hubs and garages can now be found in every city across our country.

The drive and resilient spirit of the social venture community can offer direction and a clear vision of the future as the process drags on through the clutter of global politics.

The global climate negotiations also play an important role in the future development of clean tech startups and social ventures.

Governments from every corner of the world are discussing how development and growth will be contextualized on a fragile planet through the 21st century.

The outcome of this discussion will create the framework and benchmarks for not just the environment but also our economies, national priorities and direction of our innovative efforts.

It will be up to the future generations to meet the needs of development and growth on a fragile planet through the 21st century.

Across the world, Generation-Y is stepping up and demanding a seat at the table, here at the climate negotiations as well as in our home countries.

This is not just evident here in Paris.

This is also the theme in startup hubs, grassroots campaigns and research institutions across the globe.

The Millennial generation is taking action because it has no other choice.

To see more on this check out these interviews with youth leaders: