More than words: It’s time for climate action

4 minutes

By Grecia Bárcena and Kazi Zubair Hossain, WOSM Youth Representatives

This week, Scouts are headed to the United Nations’ largest annual climate change conference, COP27, and we have a lot to tell the political and business leaders we’ll be meeting.

Scouts Grecia and Kazi speak with a reporter during COP26
World Scout Bureau

Climate action is top-of-mind for young people worldwide, who strive daily to find ways to reduce their impact on the environment and create a better, greener world. Sometimes, it feels like these efforts by young people and other climate allies are in vain, sabotaged by a lack of political will or trumped by corporate financial interests.

Each year at COP, we hear promises of renewed commitment and solidarity between countries to lower emissions, finance climate action initiatives, and promote green economies.

However, these promises are increasingly empty, with little implementation year-on-year, as our planet suffers more extreme weather, dwindling biodiversity, and increasing inequality as a result.

Today, we are nowhere near meeting the rapidly approaching targets of the Paris Agreement or the Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, these issues have only been exacerbated by the pandemic and continuous climate inaction, which is why we need to see bold commitments that put people first.

Young people are looking to political and business leaders for bold, high-level action that reflects the level of urgency felt this year during extreme weather events, like heatwaves and forest fires, droughts, food shortages, and more frequent cyclones.

There is no question that the current levels of human activity and consumption have become too much for our planet’s resources to bear. 

Scouts are committed to the environment - it's their playground after all! These Scouts are enjoying a weekend in the forest.
World Scout Bureau

Scouting’s commitments at COP27

Taking care of the environment is at the core of Scouting values. As avid campers and hikers, we know how important it is to take care of our surroundings, to leave no trace, and to leave each place a little better than we found it.

Within Scouting, we are active advocates, each playing a role in making our Scout groups, National Scout Organizations, and World Scouting more sustainable each day. Scouts also provide climate education and serve our communities to become more environmentally friendly. In fact, you’ll find Scouts running impressive projects all over the world from reforestation in Croatia to bringing renewable energy to rural Vietnam, to curbing single-use plastics in India, and so much more.

While young people will continue to take action, we know that change also needs to come from leaders in politics and business in order to meaningfully reduce global emissions and reverse damage to our ecosystems.

Grecia holds a sign reading "ACT NOW" with a giant planet structure behind her, during COP26
World Scout Bureau

Scouts’ message to leaders at COP27

COP should be a place of action. Rather than continuing to make new commitments without a road to them, we need leaders to be responsible toward young people and future generations by implementing what has already been promised in the last few decades.

Our message is clear:

  • We must not allow global warming to rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • We must commit to ambitious policies that protect people and nature and build a climate-resilient society.
  • We must commit to making policies that are truly fair: they must require the largest contributors to climate change to take the most action.

Please be bold. Put people first.

Your decisions today impact the quality of the air, water, and food that your family will have in the coming years. So let’s make it better together.

While at COP27, if you see someone in a purple scarf, please approach us! We truly look forward to having meaningful conversations that drive global action against climate change.

And remember: Although we may only be a few at COP27, we come with the voices of all young people who can’t be present, and we are eager to represent their interests for a cleaner, greener, and more equal world for young people and future generations. 

Scouts with Bear Grylls, Chief Ambassador of World Scouting, gather at COP26 to advocate for climate action now.
World Scout Bureau

Learn more

Click here to learn more about Scouts’ environmental education initiatives like the Earth Tribe and more.


The participation of Youth Representatives at events was made possible with support from Alwaleed Philanthropies, a key partner in Scouts for SDGs, an initiative in which Scouts are making the world’s largest coordinated youth contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Related news

Scout Nadine Shili poses in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York City
World Scout Bureau

Representing the voices of 57 million Scouts, I advocated for the right to Quality Education for all during the Transforming Education Summit at the United Nations.

Read more
Scouts in Switzerland works cleaning their local community in autumn
© WSB Inc. / World Scouting

Scouting’s leadership from 31 National Scout Organizations (NSOs) and National Scout Associations (NSAs) representing 25 countries will convene this week for the first European Sustainability Forum to share knowledge and advance an common agenda for...

Read more
This project brought fun and beauty to the city of Coro, while raising awareness for environmental conservation and plastic pollution.

This you have to see. A Scout Leader in Coro, Venezuela led a project to build a beautiful “sustainable wall” out of… bottle caps!

Read more
See all news