Disobedient youth: Lessons from the youth climate strike movement

Year of production: 2021

Responding to a new global context, this paper considers the issues at stake for youth in the climate crisis, analyses the youth climate strikes in Europe and considers their implications for youth policy, youth work and youth research.

The paper is divided into several sections and looks at:

  • ‘youth’ as a political identity in climate policy-making. The reality of youth as a collective identity and experience makes intergenerational equity an important issue for climate justice.
  • the new wave of youth climate activism from 2019. It explores the demographic characteristics of the climate strikers, noting that this wave of mobilisations has been predominantly driven by young women. It considers the concerns catalysing their mobilisations, illuminating what it is about current climate governance and broader political systems which young people find lacking.
  • the tactics and forms of participation that youth climate activists have adopted as well as a tentative assessment of their impact to date.
  • emerging policy links between youth and climate and considers the role that each element of the European youth sector (youth policy, youth work and youth research) can play in supporting meaningful youth participation in climate governance.
  • how the youth sector can be allies to and advocates for youth in their efforts for climate justice and makes recommendations for action by the youth sector.


What's up with the youth climate strike movement?


EU-CoE youth partnership logo
The Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth

The EU-CoE youth partnership is a co-operation programme between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth, created in 1998. It is based on the principle of a balanced involvement of the partner institutions in terms of political priorities, management, funding and visibility.

Jamie Gorman

Ph.D. Centre for Youth Research and Development, Maynooth University, Ireland.