Four Things I Learned at the UN Youth Climate Summit

I recently had the opportunity to attend  the UN’s Youth Climate Summit, held on September 21st. This was quite the educational experience, and for those who couldn’t attend, I’ve prepared a list of the top four things I learned from the summit.

  1. “Youth are unstoppable.” These were youth activist Greta Thunberg’s words during her opening statement at the summit. This is definitely true. What started out as a movement with Greta missing school on Fridays to protest global inaction to fight climate change has become a global movement where over four million people protested for climate action on September 20. Young people are the reason the UN decided to hold a special climate summit on the September 23. This proves that young people are truly unstoppable.
  2. Climate change affects us all. Climate change has a profound global impact. Poorer and developing countries are experiencing severe drought, desertification, and mass migration crises due to conflict over resources. This is all tied to climate change. As the global temperatures continue to rise, droughts become more severe and resources become increasingly scarce, leading to more conflict. As a global community, we need to act to help protect not only our future, but the future of our planet and security for all.
  3. Activism movements come and go, but we can’t let this one die. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, stated that “you cannot let this momentum go like a wave and disappear. You need to use your networks and keep this [the movement] going.”  She’s right. We need to continue to fight for our future and ensure that climate action happens. Should we give up, we risk our futures.
  4. Education is key. By educating ourselves and spreading our knowledge to others, we can help increase global understanding of the threat of climate change, which will encourage more people to get involved in climate action. Environmental group This Is Zero Hour stated that the issue is essentially like dealing with a weed: “If you want to get rid of a weed, you have to pull it up at the roots. We have to do that with climate change. What’s the solution to that? Education.” This means that by educating ourselves and others on the key causes of climate change, we can make progress and meet the thresholds for a safe future presented by the UN.

Neldon Hamblin is a 20-year-old student from rural northern Utah studying environmental science and anthropology, focusing on climate change. He has been involved in several environmental initiatives and has always been passionate about the environment and protecting it for future generations. His main environmental interests include land conservation, climate change mitigation, pollution reduction, public advocacy and environmental policy. You can find him online on Twitter at @NeldonJacob and can follow his environmental education blog at