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Youth advocating for climate justice.

The importance of youth voice

When youth engage in advocacy efforts, they learn that their voice matters, and that they can make a difference. This is one way for children and youth to experience the engagement Building Block of HOPE. A great example of this was demonstrated with a group of 16 children and youths, ranging from 5 to 22, who sued the Montana state government for violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment. This past Monday, Judge Kathy Seeley in the First Judicial District Court of Montana ruled entirely in their favor, changing the further actions of the government to evaluation the impact of fossil fuel development has on climate change, and the health impacts on young people.

This policy change is one of the strongest decision on climate change ever issues by the courts, and youth lead this change. When youth are able to advocate for their health and the quality of their future, they learn that their voice has value and is important, and leads to strong and resilient adults. This example of engagement is a strong showing of how valuable youth voices are in our communities. When we include youth, we are able to see new perspectives and learn new information. This policy change will benefit us all, not just those in the Montana, and it was through the social and civic engagement of youth that the world has a chance to heal.

The Four Building Blocks of HOPE

When youth advocate for themselves each HOPE Building Block is able to flourish:

Four Building Blocks of HOPE


They develop new relationships with peers and adults who have similar values and are working toward the same goal.


Youth can feel safe in environments they live and go to school knowing their voice is heard.


Advocacy is a way to engage in community change and feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

Emotional Growth

Being able to create change at such a young age shows youth how strong and important their voices are, deepening their own sense of self-importance and self-love.


Take action

  • Look into your state laws, if your state has a provision called the “Green Amendment” youth in your state would be able to take similar action.
  • Call your state and federal elected officials and pressure them to create stricter rules on considering fossil fuel emissions and its impact to climate change.
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