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Youth Energy Narratives Council Stories

In October 2023, 5 young people of the Youth Energy Narratives Council (YENC) convened to explore climate, energy, and youth engagement through storytelling. Members included Anushka Nagle, Amanda Nogueira Moreira de Souza, Cathleen Jeanty, Abul Bashar Rahman, and Micheal Adebambo. Over five months, they wrote tales reflecting their experiences and worked on their research and interviews to shape recommendations for global climate philanthropists.

In October 2023, 5 young people of the Youth Energy Narratives Council (YENC) convened to explore climate, energy, and youth engagement through storytelling. Members included Anushka Nagle, Amanda Nogueira Moreira de Souza, Cathleen Jeanty, Abul Bashar Rahman, and Micheal Adebambo. Over five months, they wrote tales reflecting their experiences and worked on their research and interviews to shape recommendations for global climate philanthropists. Here are summaries of their stories, including the linked full-text versions of Cathleen and Amanda’s stories:

Anushka Nagle 

Anushka’s Youth Energy Narratives story focused on the role of Indian Waste-pickers in the circular economy. In urban India, the alarming statistics of waste production paint a grim picture of environmental degradation and public health risks. With approximately 62 million tonnes generated daily, the majority remains uncollected and untreated, contributing to air, soil, and water pollution. Delhi, a prime example, grapples with over 8,700 tons of municipal solid waste daily.  Less than 10% of this waste is segregated and treated, highlighting large systemic challenges. Nagle conducted two case studies exploring the impacts of cooperative waste management services in two different cities in India to inform her final recommendations. Her presentation highlights that addressing India’s waste crisis necessitates a holistic approach, involving consumers, government bodies, NGOs, and entrepreneurs. Her recommendations shine light on the importance of community based solutions that are responsive to the needs of the community they are being implemented in as well as the need to include community members in climate action incentives. 

According to Anushka, when it comes to climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, it is crucial to put the spotlight on marginalized communities, especially waste-pickers, who play a vital role in keeping our cities cleaner. As stated in her project summary, “By prioritizing [waste-pickers’] upliftment, we not only improve their lives but also tackle environmental degradation head-on. It’s imperative to recognize the intersectionality between social equity and environmental sustainability in tackling India’s waste woes.

Cathleen Jeanty

Cathleen’s story titled The Revolution Will Be Underwater, is a foray into the world of youth climate activism. Last year marked the midpoint to The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’ 2030 agenda, where Goal 13, climate action, has really taken center stage. Climate change is on everybody’s lips, but the action – in the view of most young people – is missing.  The piece features perspectives of young people across the globe, who are often sidelined in climate policy making processes. It is an amalgamation of interviews with youth climate activists and policy leaders; surveys with youth activists; data; and research. The story delves into an issue that data and research have shown largely impacts young people: climate-induced migration. It is part narrative, part editorial, and part prescriptive, and offers feedback from young people who have lived experience of what it’s like to be on the frontlines witnessing how climate change can reorient your community. The recommendations from her story are centered around building more pathways for young people to turn their advocacy into actionable policy by earmarking funds to invest in youth-led climate ventures. 

Amanda Nogueira Moreira de Souza

Amanda’s narrative details her connection to her land as a young person from Latin America and how this relates to broader conversations and action plans calling for a sustainable energy transition. Amanda’s story highlights the destructive and unsustainable nature of lithium mining in Brazil and its impacts on Indigenous communities’ access to food, clean water, and safety. Her recommendations call for an equitable and just energy transition that considers the impact to those living in Latin America. As stated by Amanda, “It is essential to not finance projects to further lithium extraction in those regions, provide financial support and resources to those currently being affected by it, and raise awareness of the issue at the international level.

Abul Bashar Rahman 

Bashar’s narrative for the Council was explored through a five-part podcast series where he interviewed young people with a variety of educational and working backgrounds to discuss how they take action on climate and energy within their sectors. From sustainable transportation to equity and energy justice, Bashar’s podcast highlights the power of young people taking action in the sustainable energy transition and the need for more senior-level organizations and people in positions of power and decision-making roles to meaningfully include young people as stakeholders in the energy transition. Bashar’s final recommendations are centered around the importance of empowering local climate resilience initiatives by investing in local leadership development and capacity building and encouraging the development of knowledge exchange platforms and educational resources for youth and community members. These were developed based on his experience as a young person whose immediate family in Bangladesh has been displaced as a result of climate change, the lessons he learned from his journey cycling across Bangladesh to amplify the voices of the people affected by climate change, and, of course, the stories he heard in recording his podcast for the Youth Energy Narratives Council. 

Adebambo Micheal

Micheal’s story showcases how community solar projects are providing clean, renewable energy access and economic opportunities to everyday people, especially youth, in rural areas of Nigeria. His recommendations are centered around increasing investments in decentralized renewable energy solutions to support rural electrification and ensuring that electricity access programs are gender-inclusive and meet the specific needs of local women and girls. 

If you are interested in reading the Council’s recommendations, please contact us at research@studentenergy.org