Youth Taking Charge for a Sustainable Planet: 9 Ways to Take Action Today

As Rio+20 approaches, much of the focus has been shifted towards the engagement of as many citizens of Earth as possible. With a population of roughly 4,000,000,000 (that’s billion!), the global youth have the opportunity to speak with a unified and influential voice. Are you looking for a way to become involved? Here are a few ways the Human Impacts Institute crew recommends to take action for the Future We Want before Rio, at Rio, and beyond Rio!


PRE-RIO+20 (APRIL 22nd, 2012)

Hitting the Streets for Climate: iMatter Earth Day Marches

iMatter is not an Event, it’s a Movement. Earth Day will launch the iMatter “Future We Want. iMatter, a campaign of Kids vs Global Warming, is committed to creating opportunities for the voices of youth to be heard on the climate crisis issue.

A large body of people marching and projecting a unified voice has been and still is one of the most powerful methods of delivering a message to those who have turned their backs upon the masses. The brains behind the iMatter March (Join the march on Facebook too!) think so too and are inviting everyone to march for Earth Day this April, 22nd, 2012, with the iMatter Earthday March! This Earth Day, iMatter will march for the Future We Want. On May 11, in DC, they will also support the youth plaintiffs who are holding the U.S. government accountable to protect the atmosphere for future generations. Can’t make it to D.C.? iMatter is welcoming people from all over the world to march for climate awareness. 45 countries and 200 cities were represented last year, and this year the need to mobilize is only becoming more important.

Organize your own iMatter Earthday March!


PRE-RIO+20 (APRIL 22nd, 2012)

Get Creative and Come Up with Your Own Rio+20 Event: Rio+You

Rio + You is an awareness campaign about sustainable development, a youth movement for all those who feel young, for those who want to change, participate, scream and work together for a better world!

The Rio Mas Vos project (Rio+You) is a call from global youth partners for the young and young-at-heart to take collective action this Earth Day (April 22nd, 2012) for Rio+20. With events all over the world–you can join one or easily create your own march, concert, party, festival, or whatever to bring Rio and sustainability to your community!

Download the materials to hold a Rio+You event in your city.


PRE RIO+20 (BEFORE APRIL 30th, 2012)


Inspired by Severn Suzuki’s speech at 1992s Summit, Win a Date With History this global competition is utilizing the power of the youth’s voice to inspire today’s leaders in order to ensure that the necessary steps are being taken towards global sustainable development. Who’s allows to participate? Until April 30, anyone who is 13-30 has an opportunity to submit a 2-3 minute video describing the “Future I Want.” Videos will be shown in Rio throughout the conference and one winner will receive a trip to the conference in June and the opportunity to share their vision as a speaker at Rio+20!

Submit your Rio+20 “Future I Want” video today.


MAKING RIO+20 PERSONAL: House Parties for People, Planet and Prosperity

…knowing is half our battle.

Modern technology has allowed much of the world’s youth more free time than ever before. What’s a better way to spend this new found free time than putting on a Rio+20 House Party? In order to build a successful movement towards sustainable development, it is important for the topic to become relevant and meaningful in people’s lives. The Human Impacts Institutehas developed a guide for Rio+20 house parties with ideas on how to start a conversation on healthy communities and a healthy environment with friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Your party might include petition writing, creating videos and PSA’s for national campaigns, or simply discussing the state of today’s sustainability movement!

Start planning your Rio+20 House Party today!



Commitments to Healthy Communities and a Healthy Environment in the U.S.: MobilizeUS! Coalition

MobilizeUS! is a national coalition founded and coordinated by the Human Impacts Institute to engage Americans in supporting healthy communities, good governance, strong economies, and the environment through grassroots action, advocacy, and coalition building. The 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit is an opportunity for us to redefine our relationship to development and the environment. The U.S. has been a global “missing link” in strong environmental leadership for too long. Together, we will motivate our leaders to protect the health of our communities and our planet.

Individuals can join MobilizeUS! by joining the MobilizeUS! discussion group and taking action today with seven MobilizeUS! actions for Rio+20 today!

Groups can join the MobilizeUS! Coalition by joining the MobilizeUS! discussion group and submitting to be an official partner of the MobilizeUS! coalition by emailing See the current list of organizational partners here.



Global Youth for Sustainability and Rio: Road to Rio+20 Coalition

Strength is in the numbers, so share our work with your friends, colleagues and tell them about the incredible threats our generation is facing and about the great opportunity we have to tackle them.

Road to Rio+20 aims to motivate, inspire, engage and support young people to take action on issues of sustainable development and influence the outcomes of Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The project is aggregating, amplifying, giving visibility and support to the initiatives that various youth and youth-led communities, groups and organizations are taking on issues of sustainable development, with a link to Rio+20.

Take action, or become a partner of the Road to Rio+20 Coalition today. To get involved as a North American partner, please contact the Human Impacts Institute at



Creating Your Own Rio+20 in Your City: MyCity+20

Our project is aimed at mobilizing the youth world over, educating them on the urgency of sustainable development issues and encouraging them to involve themselves in the negotiation process of Rio+20.

The MyCity project was developed out of Sciences Po in Paris, France by passionate students with a desire to more completely understand the process of United Nations climate negotiations, Sciences Po in Paris, France started the MyCity+20 project. The initiative invites high school and university students to fully immerse themselves in the UNCSD negotiation process by creating their own simulation of the upcoming conference. Simulations may seem dry for some young people, but there are few other ways to truly understand the work that goes into, not only the production of such conferences, but also the work that it has/does/will take in order to create binding sustainable policy. It might be too close to the conference to host a MyCity, but join one already happening from New York City (NY+20), co-coordinated with the Human Impacts Institute, to Guangzhou, China!

9ways_mgcy logo.jpeg


Develop Policy with Global Youth Leaders: Major Groups of Children and Youth (MGCY)

The mission of the Major Group for Children and Youth is to ensure that the interests of children and youth are taken into account in the planning and decision making processes, and that youth in particular participate meaningfully in the UNCSD-processes.

Agenda 21 was created during the original UNCED in Rio, 1992 and its outcome is a now 20 year-old method of collaboration between the United Nations and nine major groups, including the Major Group of Children and Youth. Joining the MGCY allows for youth all over the world the ability to access resources, collaborate with similarly minded young people, and to help develop policy for Rio+20 and other Commission on Sustainable Development meetings. While the MGCY is a great resource, it’s also a resource for those mostly interested in high-level policy development and networking with youth from around the world. In order to remain accessible for as many young people as possible they have also created a series of Rio+20 webinarsthat are great resources when first exploring the world of global sustainable development. You can also learn “How YOUth can take ACTION for Sustainable Development” with these MGCY, Earth Charter International, and EOTO World collaborations to strengthen youth engagement! Stay tuned for parts 3 and 4 coming soon!

AT RIO+20 (June 7-12, 2012)

Youth in Rio for Rio+20: Youth Blast

…empowering young people to participate the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio +20.

From June 7-12, 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, the Major Groups of Children and Youth is hosting the Youth Blast Conference of Youth for Rio +20, the official Rio+20 event of the Major Group for Children and Youth Major Group. With so many youth mobilizing around the world, the MGCY saw the need for a space in which youth, who have been working together from across the planet, can assemble and create a unified youth vision for the future of sustainable development and inclusive policy.

By Brendan Schoenman, 2012 Human Impacts Institute Environmental Leadership Intern, and Tara DePorte, Founder and Executive Director, Human Impacts Institute

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