Young people are becoming increasingly active in the political sphere, at least in terms of environmental issues. The Fridays for Future student climate strikes, started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, have become international and are no longer limited to school students.
Both the Norwegian climate and environment minister, Ola Elvestuen, and the Icelandic environment minister, Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, say they will hold meetings with the organizers of the climate strikes in the spring. Iceland’s Prime Minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, will also be involved in the Icelandic meetings.
Iceland set up a 12-person Youth Council last year that is aimed at spearheading the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs – also known as Agenda 2030) in Iceland, while a similar Youth Council exists in Finland. The Icelandic Youth Council has been very active; for instance, the team turned out in force at a conference for young people under 30, called Youth Leading a Sustainable Lifestyle, that was held in Reykjavik in April. Thunberg gave a short video presentation to the conference, the text of which is included in this article I wrote.
The Nordic Council of Ministers officially launched Generation 2030, a youth-centred programme that focuses on SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production) in September 2017, though preparations had started the year before, while Regeneration 2030 is for young people aged 15-29 who live in the Nordic countries or Baltic Sea states. It was one of the organizers of the April conference in Iceland, and will hold its second Summit in Åland in August, with the theme of Changing Climate, Changing Lifestyles.
In the European elections that have just happened, the Greens increased their share of the vote by about 38%. The turnout for the 2019 European elections was also higher than usual, and young people were said to have participated in greater numbers than before. Whether or not they voted Green is hard to say.