A reporting project profiling youth who are fighting climate change includes two students at a News Decoder partner school in Belgium.

Video of “The Writing’s on the Wall” mural being painted at the European School of Brussels II. Video by Amélie Zimmermann.

Two students at a News Decoder partner school in Belgium are showcased in a collection of articles that profile teenagers leading the fight against climate change.

Articles by Maya Blekinsop and Thomas Karmarker of the European School of Brussels II (ESBII) have been included in a collection of 13 stories selected by Global Youth & News Media as part of the French non-profit’s World Teenage Reporting Project.

The latest edition of the reporting project focuses on climate change and throws a spotlight on outstanding work by teenage reporters ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.

Blekinsop’s article profiles schoolmate Amélie Zimmermann, the brainchild behind a huge mural painted at their school that underscores the urgent need for nations to make far-reaching changes to avert a global climate catastrophe.

Similar efforts to raise awareness of the urgency to fight climate change are planned in Munich, Mol and Alicante, according to Blekinsop.

Youth are leading the fight to save our planet.

“People need to understand that this is just the beginning,” Zimmermann told Blikinsop. “Entire ecosystems are going to collapse, the oceans will rise and areas that are now livable will become desert.”

In his article, Karmarker profiles Matthew Pye, a teacher at ESBII and the founder of The Climate Academy. Pye, in Karmarker’s words, “devotes his life to help give the global population what it deserves — climate justice.”

Other articles that are showcased include profiles of an Indian teenager who has invented a toothbrush designed to reduce plastic waste and of a Michigan youth who has worked to restore clean water to her hometown.

“As recently as last week I listened to some very esteemed adults at a major global conference who still felt the need to tell young people what they should be doing around saving the planet, when it is clearly the young who are leading the way in so many forms,” Global Youth & News Media founder and director Aralynn McMane said.

“It is important for young people to be given the platform to tell our own stories and those of our peers,” said Rory Rusnak, the founder of Youth for Positive Change in Ireland who has profiled a Lebanese activist. “Because so often the actions of young people are misrepresented or framed to fit into some adult narrative of who we are, writing our own stories shifts the power.”

Reporting project has featured students at News Decoder partner schools.

The two earlier editions of the World Teenage Reporting Project featured articles on what teenagers were doing to help during the COVID-19 pandemic and profiles of teens and adults who promote tolerance.

News Decoder Student Ambassador Varlee Fofana, a student at the African Leadership Academy, was highlighted in the second edition for his experience in a West African refugee camp, where the diversity that surrounded him as a young child first came as a shock, then became normal.

The first edition included a story by former News Decoder intern Dylan Carlson-Sirvent examing how young people stepped up to help their communities during COVID-19.

Also in the first edition, an article by another ESBII student, Gabrielius Rosinas, looked at how The Climate Academy continued its work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Global Youth & News Media will continue to accept profiles of climate change champions for the third edition of the World Youth Reporting Project in the run-up to the start of COP 26 on November 1.  The next deadline is 15 September .

McMane is a member of the board of News Decoder’s governing non-profit, Nouvelles-Découvertes. 

(Nelson Graves is the founder of News Decoder.)

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