Today we visited with two dynamic leaders of an organization called “Nature and Youth,” Norway’s powerful environmental organization for young people. We were told that once members turn 25 they are kicked out of the organization. This means that Nature and Youth, which means that the organization truly is for youth, by youth.
The group was founded in 1967 and is democratic and grassroots. Most members are between the ages of 16-19. Nature and Youth has about 7000 members that belong to 70 groups across Norway. Oil, energy, transportation, agriculture, fisheries, international issues and nature conservation are the group’s major platforms.
The Oil Industry
· Accounts for 25% of Norway’s emissions
· The use of Norwegian oil accounts for 2.7% of global emissions
· Keeping the climate change to 2 degrees Celsius requires that 75% of confirmed fossil fuels stay in the ground, but the oil industry continues to explore unchartered regions for more reserves.
· Norway has an incredible potential for wind, especially in the West.
· Renewable energy requires insufficient financial support from the government.
· Many people are opposed to renewables for aesthetic reasons.
· 20% of Norwegian emissions come from highway emissions
· We need to move people out of cars and planes and into buses and trains.
· Norwegian biodiversity is still being lost every day
· We rely on healthy ecosystems for food, fresh air and medicines.
· Norwegian forests don’t have they protection they need.
Challenges facing activists
· Powerful adversaries like the oil industry
· Lacking sense of urgency
· Prime minister isn’t supportive
· Environmental movement must get stronger
Nature and Youth is primarily funded by the Norwegian government, which is incredible seeing as the group is often times in opposition to government policies and advocating for change. The leaders say that they are not at all restricted in what they say because of the fact that they receive government funding. Incredible! Some funding is also received from wind companies.
This youth group has a powerful voice in Norway. We found out that Mari, the Vice Chair of the organization that met with us is actually quite the celebrity in Norway because of her abilities to debate important issues and the frequency at which she appears on television. All that and she’s not even 21 years old! Watch out world. J