Approximately half of the global population is aged 30 or under, and this percentage is anticipated to grow to 57% by the end of 2030. This constitutes the largest demographic of young individuals ever witnessed. In this context, the significance of cultivating eco-friendly proficiencies among young people is crucial for facilitating an equitable shift towards a greener and more sustainable planet where all segments of society, including youth, can reap the benefits proportionately.
Understanding Green Skills
Green skills encompass a spectrum of technical knowledge, expertise and capabilities that enable the proficient application of environmentally friendly technologies and processes across industries. These competencies draw upon a variety of insights, values and mindsets to facilitate ecologically conscious decision-making both in professional settings and in our personal lives. While green proficiencies are essential for individuals of all age groups, they hold particular significance for the younger generation. This is due to their prolonged potential to contribute to ecological transformation over an extended timeframe.
Fostering a New Generation of Eco-Leaders
Kristy Drutman, co-founder of the Green Jobs Board, a platform that connects environmental job seekers with viable opportunities, noted that a major hurdle for young people entering green employment is the lack of clarity regarding career pathways and training resources. Additionally, there is a dearth of mentorship and support systems geared toward nurturing green careers.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) posits that transitioning to sustainable energy sources and a circular economy could yield the creation of 100 million jobs globally. However, this transition might render certain existing jobs obsolete. Furthermore, the advantages of this transition are unlikely to be evenly distributed geographically or demographically unless young individuals receive the requisite training and support mechanisms.
Marc Collado, a member of the Green Jobs Working Group within the official children and youth constituency for UN Climate Change (YOUNGO), emphasized the shared challenges that young people face globally. These include heightened vulnerability to living conditions, constrained incomes and uncertainties about the future. These shared experiences influence how the younger generation navigates the shift towards a green economy, setting them apart from previous generations.
A successful and equitable transition necessitates addressing the obstacles that young people encounter in acquiring green skills and weaving these requirements into national development strategies through robust policy coordination, social discourse and collaboration.
Fatou Jeng, Youth Climate Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General and founder of Clean Earth Gambia, underscores the importance of involving more young people in climate decision-making spheres. She stressed the need to view young individuals as indispensable stakeholders in the journey towards low-carbon economies.
Developing Necessary Green Skills
Enabling green skills among the youth is an imperative endeavor, poised to mold a generation capable of driving a sustainable and environmentally conscious future. This transformation requires a multifaceted approach that intertwines education, experiential learning, vocational training and collaborative initiatives. By integrating environmental education into school curricula, focusing on themes like climate change, renewable energy and waste reduction, a foundational awareness of ecological issues takes root. Complementing this, interactive workshops, seminars and awareness campaigns have the power to ignite urgency and responsibility in young minds. Engaging in environmental clubs and activities further nurtures hands-on learning and active participation.
Cultivating green skills requires real-world encounters with sustainable technologies and practices. Organizing visits to renewable energy facilities, recycling centers and sustainable enterprises highlights eco-friendly methodologies in action. Vocational training programs and collaborations with technical institutes can showcase expertise in areas like solar installation and sustainable construction. Finally, internships and apprenticeships provide fledgling talents with the opportunity to work alongside seasoned professionals, bridging the gap between theoretical learning and tangible skill acquisition.
Online resources and courses encompassing subjects like sustainable design, green entrepreneurship and environmental policy leverage the potential of the digital age to expedite the distribution of green skills. Simultaneously, competitive platforms such as hackathons challenge young minds to innovate while honing sustainable solutions. Community-driven projects like tree planting and clean-up drives can also actualize youth contributions. Collaboration and networking further amplify connections between aspiring green leaders and established professionals in eco-conscious sectors.
Furthermore, advocating for green entrepreneurship, hosting workshops on sustainable business practices, and supporting initiatives that champion favorable government policies equip the youth with the tools needed to shape a sustainable future. Role models and success stories in green skills provide tangible inspiration, motivating the younger generation to channel their passions into meaningful pursuits. Ultimately, the development of green skills is a continuous journey, where ongoing commitment is vital to nurturing a plethora of eco-literate and environmentally committed individuals. This group will steer humanity toward a more harmonious relationship with the planet and, undoubtedly, a more sustainable future.
By implementing these strategies, the amalgam of communities, educational institutions, businesses and governments can collectively contribute to equipping young people with the knowledge, skills, and motivation they need to actively participate in building a better tomorrow.
By Elza Moukawam, Journalist, Telecom Review