Young Activists Around The World : when the youth takes matters into its own hands

Every month starting December 2022, we at Youth Talks will be publishing a four-article series about a key socio-political topic, intending to trigger discussions with our readers. This month and for our first series, we explore the topic of activism(s), its history and meanings, as well as the young people and global initiatives that are shaping its new forms.

With that in mind, our second article’s purpose is to give you a world tour of inspiring initiatives led by young activists who are fighting to build societies that embody their values. We also hope that these portraits will encourage you to share your own aspirations with us, by participating in our consultation.


🌳Fighting for Social & Climate Justice – On est Prêt

  • Location and Year of creation

On est Prêt was founded in France in 2018. Thanks to the massive support the movement generated with its online video campaigns, it became a registered association. This new status means it is better equipped to centralize and organize its actions, especially since it can collect money from citizens willing to financially support it. 


  • Key representatives

The association brings together various climate experts and citizens. Among its leading figures: Camille Etienne, 24 years old, is also known for her individual activist activities, especially the educational and activist content she broadcasts via her Instagram account @grainedepossible.


  • Issues addressed

On est Prêt’s objective is to educate the public on scientific matters to better explain climate change and the social issues it provokes. For example, its “heat our homes, not the climate” campaign calls for better management of energy – especially gas and electricity in French homes – despite possible future cuts caused by the war in Ukraine and dependence on Russian gas.


  • Solutions proposed

The association builds bridges between scientific actors, especially climate experts, and cultural actors such as the media, to create and broadcast videos that are the pillars of their mobilization, influence, and lobbying campaigns. The principle of their campaigns is not to blame citizens or denounce catastrophic situations, but rather to convey positive messages by proposing models of society that respect our planet. Their stories are those of desirable futures, of more equal societies.


  • Mode of operation

Overall, On est Prêt’s actions consist in challenging public actors through their online campaigns. Thus, through hashtags, online petitions, viral videos and partnerships with important members of the environmental community (e.g. Greenpeace) or actors committed to better social justice (e.g. Oxfam), the movement can mobilize a large number of people communicating together to defend common causes.


  • Accomplishments

The movement has already succeeded in making the French government act in favor of climate protection. One of their most famous campaigns started in 2018 and is called “The Case of the Century”. This mobilization has brought together 4 major NGOs to take the French government to court so that it respects its climate commitments and protects the lives, territories, and rights of its citizens and inhabitants. 

The petition gathered 2.3 million signatures and the video generated 16 million views, leading to success as on October 14, 2021, the French government was condemned by the Paris Administrative Court for climate inaction. A national first in terms of climate justice. 

Since then,the French State has to comply with two obligations: 1° Respect the reduction trajectory of its greenhouse gas emission; 2° Repair any overshoot of this trajectory.


  • Next steps

Multiple On est Prêt campaigns are ongoing, defending various causes all linked to climate and social justice, from the protection of biodiversity to pushing the French President to respect his promise to transmit 146 law proposals imagined by 150 French citizens to the Parliament. In the end, all their actions aim at enforcing new laws that protect people from climate change.


  • How to join

On est Prêt is always looking for ambassadors that can share their content, or help create new videos and online campaigns. To become part of the movement, you can simply subscribe to their newsletter to follow their news and share their next campaign on your social media.

🌏 Fighting for Climate & Social Justice – Fridays for Future, Most Affected People and Areas

  • Location and Year of creation

This youth-led international collective is made up of climate justice activists from over 60 countries in the Global South (Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania) as well as some Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) from Global North countries. It is part of Fridays for Future, which emerged in 2018 when then 15-year-old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish Parliament to denounce its lack of action on protecting people from climate change. As she did so every school day for three weeks, it went viral and proposed a new mode of climate activism: school strikes. 


  • Key representatives

MAPA advocates for linear and decentralized organizing. Its goal is to put marginalized populations under the spotlight, to make their voices heard. Hence, there are no key representatives. 

Moreover, solutions brought about by Fridays for Future MAPA reside in its core values, which include intersectionality. The principle: a person’s multiple identities (cultural, social, political, such as gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.) condition the environment they grew up in, and therefore shapes the discriminations and difficulties that person encounters every day. It is therefore vital to take all identities and the discriminations linked to them into account to fully address social issues that person is facing. Moreover, the collective is built around international mobilizations that push for grassroots actions, to put governmental organizations under pressure.


  • Issues addressed

MAPA is an acronym that designates the areas, and populations, that are most affected by climate change and that have been historically ignored by privileged, eurocentric, populations. These vulnerable people include women and indigenous communities, racial minorities and LGBTQ+ people, but also young people as they will be particularly affected by the climate crisis once they become adults. 


  • Solutions proposed

Their main objective is to give MAPA a voice in the international and local scenes. More specifically, they ask that Global North countries drastically diminish their carbon footprints, financially support MAPA countries to help them face climate change consequences (e.g. floods), endorse the right of climate refugees, structure the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, make ecocide an international punishable crime (e.g. deforestation), actively listen to climate defenders. 


  • Modes of operation

Its members participate in online campaigns, protests, strikes, sit-ins, and online petitions. For example, they go on school strikes on Fridays to protest their government’s lack of action concerning the environment, protest at international gatherings where decision-makers reunite (such as COP27), etc.


  • Accomplishments 

Since it exists, the Fridays for Future movement triggered 164 thousand strikes, which took place in 232 countries, and 8.7 thousand cities, reuniting 18 million strikers. If you’d like to check what happened around you, you can explore their list.


  • Next steps

The collective is always organizing new strikes, if you’d like to organize your own, head this way.


  • How to join

If you live in a MAPA, or if you are interested in supporting people living in a MAPA, you can join the movement’s telegram chat to keep in touch with all their members and join their local actions. You can also follow the movement on Twitter and Instagram. Finally, you can look up what’s going on in your region thanks to their live feed.

🧠 Food for thought

Let it be at the European level with On est Prêt or at a global scale with Fridays for Future, it seems that the cause most successful at bringing young people together to fight for the same reason is climate change and the lack of action of political institutions in the face of the climate crisis.

Stop fossil fuels is yet another example of an international activist movement protesting the lack of accountability of institutions supposed to protect people from the consequences of climate change. This campus movement demands that schools decline all offers from private actors that profit from fossil fuels to invest in their infrastructures and/or educational programs. It started in Barcelona and quickly spread to France, the United States, Germany, England, and more countries.

Thus, it seems that climate change is THE cause capable of uniting so many young people, all over the world, and with similar modes of action.

Do you think other struggles can bring together so many people on an international level?

We would be more than happy and curious to hear your thoughts on the subject, so feel free to respond in the comments. We look forward to hearing from you!

📢We need you

Why do we need to hear from you?

  • From October, 14th to April 30th, young people (15-29yo) worldwide are invited to take part in Youth Talks, a massive collective intelligence consultation
  • The Higher Education for Good Foundation, which is launching this initiative, is expecting tens of thousands of respondents, hopefully including you!

Why should you participate?

  • The results of the consultation will help the Foundation imagine new higher education models to grow future generations into empowered individuals able to overcome the challenges of their times.
  • Thanks to an online platform and offline activities, you can share your ideas, concerns, dreams, and expectations for the future.

Any other reason?

  • Plenty! First, we believe that asking yourself such questions will provide you with a framework to better understand who you are and what you want for the future.
  • Second, participating in the consultation means your answers will co-construct the educational policies of tomorrow: they will nourish a white paper that will be read by the OECD, the European Commission, and other major youth organizations.
  • Third, thanks to the online open data platform we will publish thanks to your answers, it’s the occasion to show the rest of the world what young people want.
  • Finally, it helps plan trees as every 10 people responding to Youth Talks, we will finance the planting of 1 tree to help restore forests, create habitat for biodiversity, and make a positive social impact around the world.