Climate change is influencing the way young people vote and live

Image Source: Mariah Appleby’s Instagram @mappleby_

By Zoe Kassiotis | @ZKassiotis 

Climate change is a major concern for young voters and next month’s election will see many young Australians engage in politics in a way that they likely haven’t before.

Activist and Flinders University graduate Mariah Appleby, 22, works for Reach Out Volunteers and said that climate change is the sole reason her relationship with politics changed.

“I was always against politics and hated anything to do with it,” Ms Appleby said.

“Climate change is such a huge issue and a lot of it does revolve around politics and who’s in charge.

“I’ve become more aware of what politicians are doing for the environment,” she said.

This followed last year’s warning from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the world has 12 years to act to avoid irreversible and catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Plan International Australia, in partnership with Oaktree and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, recently consulted more than 435 young Australians to find out how they feel about climate change.

The findings revealed that 90 per cent of participants said climate change ranked as an important issue for them.

Only 4 per cent felt the government was currently doing enough to address climate change.

Participants said they wanted to see the government prioritise investing in clean energy, being global leaders in setting tough emissions targets, and putting the environment above profits.

“The number one thing that the Australian Government can do is to not invest in the Adani coal mine that is literally going to destroy the Great Barrier Reef and negatively impact the environment for years to come,” Ms Appleby said.

Ms Appleby said implementing environmental policies that force large businesses to run off renewable energy would also sway her vote.

She also said that her friends are very environmentally minded and had the same point of view heading into this federal election.

The Australian Conservation Foundation conducted surveys that showed Australian women were more likely to recognise climate change and did more to help the environment than men.

Ms Appleby said that it would help to see more women in Australian politics because greater diversity would result in a wider governmental view of climate change.

Voting isn’t the only important life-choice that climate change has directly affected for Ms Appleby’s future.

Alongside a conscious effort to only buy sustainable fashion and cut single-use plastic, Ms Appleby also decided not to have children due to climate change.

Speaking to Triple J’s Hack about her choice, Ms Appleby said that “the future is so uncertain with the way climate change is going, so I’m choosing not to bring anyone else into this world when they may not have a good future.”

Ms Appleby said her decision not to have children is also because of the amount of resources that it takes for a human being to exist on this earth.

“The planet can’t sustain the people we have now, and so bringing in more people is even more unsustainable.”

Ms Appleby revealed that friends who really wanted to have kids have recently put more thought into their decisions because the personal choice to increase the population has much larger environmental effects.

“Adoption is the obvious pathway for those who really want kids when bringing a whole new person into the world is no longer what’s best,” she said.

Ms Appleby said this approach is a necessary, but small part of solving a much larger issue.

“It’s a global effort and we all need to do lots of little things to ensure a future for ourselves.”

2 responses to “Climate change is influencing the way young people vote and live”

  1. The young people of today really are the future of tomorrow. We need more to engage in politics to really drive the change that we want and need. Hats off to this group for doing just that! Good luck.


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