Youth Leadership and Climate Action

Please note:  The following Charter is the product of a climate symposium sponsored by Children Now of Quebec and is being widely distributed.  Glen Martin was a member of the committee that developed the Charter. It presents guidelines for all sectors of society to deal with our global climate crisis. February 2022.

Link to the original Charter on the Children Now website.


Children Now believes that the blunt undeniable truth lies now unmistakably before us. From an ecological and environmental perspective we have failed our children. We collectively, combined with past generations, have done the current generation and potentially future generations a disservice.

We have failed individually and collectively in our obligations as stewards of the environment. We have repeatedly and with willful disregard treated the finite planetary ecosystem as the infinite. We have at our own peril chosen to pursue non-sustainable social and economic behaviours. We have neglected our individual social responsibility, our community responsibility, and our corporate, national and international responsibility.

The positive news, however, is that Children Now believes that we have a time sensitive opportunity to embrace a whole society approach to respond to the reality of climate change and adaptation and make a material difference. It is an unprecedented time in our humanity and the consequences of failing to ACT NOW will be a non-reversible self-imposed spiral of self-destruction. Individuals, corporations, communities, nation states and international organizations must demonstrate unparalleled cooperation and commitment to a common and singular purpose which is protecting the inherent environmental rights of our Children.

This generation needs to accept responsibility and with transparency empower our youth to be Leaders Now, and to make a difference NOW. Recognizing this moral imperative to act Now, Children Now has developed this “Charter of Global Ecological Responsibilities and Commitment to Youth Leadership and Climate Action.”


We stand at a critical moment in our earth’s history, a time when every adult, every family, every society and every government has a moral imperative to ensure that the next generation is equipped with the skills, resources and opportunity to successfully meet and overcome the legacy issues which previous successive generations have unfortunately bequeathed to them. All these responsibilities derive from the fundamental right that all persons and other living creatures have to live within a healthy and ecologically sound planetary environment.

As the world becomes increasingly fragile and interdependent, the future holds concurrently both a great peril and great opportunity. We are confronted with a leadership challenge of rectifying critical issues of climate change. Humanity is afforded with a timely opportunity through empowerment of our youth to help remedy the environmental and climate change issues that have been thrust upon them. As a global society that should be founded on respect for nature, concern for present and future generations, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace, it is imperative that we declare our responsibility to one another, to our planet as a living whole, and to the future generations.


 The general purpose of this Charter of Global Ecological Responsibilities is to:

  • Safeguard the rights of all present and future generations to a healthy and ecologically balanced global environment by supporting and promoting the protection, enhancement and prudent care of the environment everywhere on Earth;
  • Affirm the duty to protect preserve and, where possible, restore the integrity of the environment and
  • Empower our youth as future environmental leaders to think holistically and envision truly creative solutions to ecological problems.

The procedural purpose of this Charter of Global Ecological Responsibilities is to:

  • Foster transparency, inclusiveness and accountability, and provide individuals with tools to enable them to protect the environment;
  • Ensure that individuals have access to credible information about decisions that affect the health and integrity of the environment;
  • Hold governments, local communities and international businesses accountable to climate change mitigation commitments
  • Enable and empower youth to participate in environmental governance and decision-making.

The substantive purpose of this Charter of Global Ecological Responsibilities is to

  • Establish principles of greenhouse gas reduction in all sectors and achieve net zero balance;
  • Protect and preserve sinks that absorb carbon (forests, oceans, permafrost) through innovative technologies and coordinated human actions
  • Establish principles of environmental stewardship;
  • Articulate the responsibilities of individuals, corporations and the Government with respect to the environment and adapting to the carrying capacity of our precious planet Earth.


WHEREAS Children Now recognizes:

  • That the very existence of mankind is inextricably linked with its environment, which is now under threat as a result of climate change factors, associated with human actions and behavior,
  • That any threat to the environment is a threat to human existence and threats can be mitigated and minimized,
  • That Children and Youth must be mentored and be included in all climate change mitigation activities.
  • That we have a responsibility to empower our youth as future leaders to protect, preserve and restore the environment;
  • The need to safeguard against the negative effects of climate change, and accept responsibility,
  • The international character of climate change mitigation efforts and the interdependence of communities, regions and nations,
  • The need for global co-operation and the fact that both the developed and developing countries are affected by climate change differently,

Children Now solemnly proclaims the present Charter of Global Ecological Responsibilities with the whole-hearted expectation that Governments, International Organizations, the international business community and civil society will promote and strengthen values that safeguard and sustain climate change mitigation.


ARTICLE 1: Responsibility of Businesses

Businesses and Corporations should;

  • Reduce, reuse and recycle natural resources, and minimize the demand for new materials by embracing circular economy principles;
  • Adopt best practices in all operations, manage natural resources efficiently, embrace best practices for the protection of the environment and a sustainable future;
  • Prioritize the well-being of people and the planet while creating sustainable prosperity;
  • Strive to move towards a green economy for the well-being of all within the carrying capacity of the earth;
  • Engage in local sourcing to reduce their carbon footprint while supporting local economies as well as pesticide-free and regenerative agriculture
  • Support Youth as custodians of our environment, thought leaders and ambassadors of change;
  • Conduct operations in a manner that supports a healthy and ecologically balanced environment;
  • Restore carbon sinks by switching to sustainable forestry and agriculture, planting trees, restoring ecosystems that have been damaged, and protecting wild places that are still intact.

ARTICLE 2: Responsibility of Governments

Governments should:

  • Enhance and enforce legislation and policies that protect the environment from industrial and consumer pollution, while committing to a low carbon economy;
  • Strengthen legislation that protects society and individuals from exposure to harmful chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and others;
  • Design and plan cities and dwellings in a sustainable, regenerative, and environmentally responsible manner;
  • Invest in initiatives to adapt to the impacts of climate change such as floods, storm surges, droughts and heat waves;
  • Take measures to protect and preserve natural carbon sinks that absorb carbon, such as oceans and forests, through innovative technologies and coordinated human actions;
  • Establish principles of environmental stewardship for international and domestic businesses, and communities;
  • Actively encourage, train and equip our youth to become socially responsible leaders with respect to climate action;
  • Protect the right of every individual to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment;
  • Promote governance forms fostering global cooperation and coordination;
  • Fund projects that will remediate environmental pollutants and restore carbon sinks;
  • Foster transparency, inclusiveness and accountability, and provide individuals with tools to enable them to protect the environment;
  • Hold local communities and international businesses accountable to climate change mitigation commitments;
  • Establish principles of greenhouse gas reduction in all sectors and achieve net zero balance;
  • Take steps to ensure universally accessible education to all young males and females with respect to issues of personal growth, empowerment, leadership and local and global environmental sustainability.

ARTICLE 3: Responsibility of Parents and Educators

Parents and Educators should:

  • Foster key attributes of leadership including respect, diversity, inclusiveness, and empathy;  
  • Strongly support self-development and life-long learning;
  • Ensure that our youth understand climate change causes and mitigation measures;  
  • Adopt and promote sustainable consumption behaviors;
  • Prepare youth to be custodians of the environment and critical thought leaders;
  • Promote global citizenship and the sense of planetary responsibility;
  • Instill real understanding of the limits to economic growth as well as planetary population growth; 
  • Instill the incentive to seek the meaning of life through ways of living not based on consumption or the accumulation of possessions;
  • Teach the interdependence of human actions with all-natural processes.

ARTICLE 4: Responsibility of Individuals

Individuals should:

  • Emphasize our collective right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment and the right to be protected from further impacts of climate change;
  • Urge governments to take immediate action by converting to an environmental-friendly economy and regenerative ecological initiatives for the well-being of all future generations;
  • Hold governments, local communities and international businesses accountable to climate change mitigation commitments;
  • Make every effort to conserve energy and utilize renewable energy;
  • Adopt sustainable consumption practices such as shifting to a more plant-based organic diet and reducing waste;
  • Divest fossil-fuel investments and increase investments in green and renewable technologies;
  • Implement lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions such as using public transportation, riding a bicycle and using electric vehicles;
  • Think and act holistically as global citizens within a sustainable world civilization;
  • Take moral responsibility for the welfare of future generations.

ARTICLE 5: Responsibility of Media

Media should:

  • Act responsibly with their influence and be held accountable for the ideas and concepts that they present and distribute through traditional and social media;
  • Make a commitment to climate change reporting that is truth and evidence-based;
  • Promote scientific perspectives that do not mislead or manipulate the general population but create awareness of the solutions for climate change;
  • Dedicate more time to the issues related to climate change in easily comprehensible language;
  • Cover both global and local environmental issues in depth. Examples of global issues are climate change, destruction of tropical rainforests, modification of costal ecosystems, reduced availability and quality of drinking water, over-exploitation of fisheries, food shortages, species extinction and loss of biodiversity, and ozone depletion. Examples of local issues are air and water pollution from urban wastes, untreated sewage, famines, soil erosion and degradation, industrial contaminants, forest loss, and destruction of wetlands;
  • Foster planetary perspectives and global consciousness.


Our responsibility for protecting and restoring our planetary environment is both fundamental and universal. It begins with all sectors of society, from business, to government, to education, to media, to individuals. All these sectors need to instill in young people a vision and commitment that are holistic, planetary, and action-oriented.  Young people must be inspired to see that engagement is always both local and global, for it is only as a global community acting in concert that we can protect and restore our precious planet for the dignity of all persons and the flourishing of future generations.