How Youth Influenced The EU Election And Could Do The Same In Canada

How Youth Influenced The EU Election And Could Do The Same In Canada A demonstrator holds a sign outside the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon during a climate strike of school students as part of the Fridays for Future movements on Friday, May 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

With major votes occurring within the span of five months this year, the European Union and Canadian federal elections are critical in deciding our planet’s future.

The results of the EU election — in which each European country elects an allotted number of representatives to the EU parliament — have already resulted in big changes, largely due to youth getting involved in politics.

Young people around the world are demonstrating a thorough understanding of the larger economic and environmental threats that are endangering not only individual freedom, but the very survival of our own species and more than a million others.

Around the world, youth protest movements like #FridaysForFuture have been growing steadily. Student protesters recently turned out in 120 countries and 1,700 cities to demand action on climate change just days before the EU elections on May 26. The next global student strike has already been announced for Sept. 20 and is expected to draw even bigger numbers.

It’s clear that young voters are bringing critical issues to the fore.

How Youth Influenced The EU Election And Could Do The Same In Canada Young people protest ahead of the European elections during a climate strike of school students as part of the Fridays for Future movement in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. (Boris Roessler/dpa via AP)

As Europeans headed to the polls to elect a new European Parliament, the notion of a European “Green New Deal” was a big campaign issue. The German Green Party made history by coming in second place with 20.5 per cent thanks in part to the increased voter turnout in Germany (61.4 per cent).

The shift was due mostly to many first-time voters casting their ballots for the Greens, who won the highest support in the 18-to-24 cohort — 34 per cent — and 27 per cent in the 25-to-35 age group..

European Green New Deal

There was a renewed brawl pitting democratic eco-socialists and liberals against conservatives and far-right parties, as Europeans witnessed most strikingly in the first debate of the lead candidates of the pan-European parties.

The debate focused on “digital Europe,” “sustainable Europe” and the future of Europe.

The prospect of a European Green New Deal — popular among young voters — has been increasingly paired with renewed discussions about democratizing the European Union not just politically, but also economically.

Yanis Varoufakis’s transnational party European Spring included a Green New Deal in its platform, with the following pledges: “To dismantle the habitual domination of corporate power over the will of citizens; to re-politicize the rules that govern our single market and common currency.”

The party only marginally missed the threshold for securing seats in Germany and Greece, but more than 1.4 millions Europeans voted for a Green New Deal. In Spain, the Socialist Party (PSOE) won on a Green New Deal platform.

As World Economic Forum writer Katie Whiting explained, a European Green New Deal would invest “at least five per cent of Europe’s GDP in emissions-free transportation infrastructure, renewable energies and innovative technologies, while creating jobs and transitioning Europe to zero-emissions — all without raising taxes.”

The European Greens, with 69 projected MEPs in the European Parliament, will certainly need to respond to calls from the Left Bloc (38 seats) and the Socialists and Democrats (153 seats) to work together on making Europe environmentally green and socially just.

They’ll have to do so while dealing with MEPs from pan-European parties like Volt Europa who want to democratize the European Union as far-right parties like Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) embrace increasingly nationalist and isolationist views.

The EU environmental agenda is also being shaped by particular national New Green debates. For example, in Germany, there is talk of reappropriating apartment units and car manufacturers to alleviate inequality and establish a more sustainable Europe.

Nationalize BMW?

Soon after discussions about nationalizing real estate properties emerged in the state of Berlin, Kevin Kühnert, the head of the 80,000-member-strong youth movement of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), was recently in the news for public remarks calling for the nationalization of corporations like BMW as well.

BMW is in the spotlight due to allegations it “breached EU antitrust rules from 2006 to 2014,” according to the European Commission. It’s being investigated for allegedly using illegal defeat devices to cheat regulatory emissions tests.

It’s not just young people making the case for abolishing private ownership of some entities. These daring remarks by young people, sometimes considered taboo, have inspired older generations too. As Germany celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Federal Republic and its German Basic Law, even Baby Boomers are reminding the public about the law’s Article 15 that allows the nationalization of private property.

Demands for action on climate change are growing louder every day. British parliament recently declared a climate emergency due in part to ongoing protests organized by the Extinction Rebellion movement, which has also beenhttps://articleindex.com/master/administrator/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=edit#wf-editor-wysiwyg supported by #FridaysForFuture student activist Greta Thunberg.

Growing movement?

The strong representation of Democratic Socialists federally in Germany, including young socialists up to the age of 35, is beginning to take hold across the Atlantic, where the Democratic Socialists of America, whose membership stands at 60,000, have also amassed more than 200,000 followers on Twitter.

While Canada seems to be lagging behind when compared to the European youth activism, voter turnout for those aged 18-24 increased by 18 percentage points from the 2011 federal election to 57.1 per cent in 2015

And although provincial elections in Alberta and Prince Edward Island resulted in Progressive Conservative governments, the Green Party of P.E.I. are the first Greens in Canada to become the official opposition.

The progress is happening as many young Europeans and Canadians look up to young leaders like Germany’s Kühnert and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the United States as they advocate Green New Deals. It’s time for young people in Canada to get more involved politically if they want to have a shot at saving the planet. For now, #FridaysForFuture may be a good way to start.The Conversation

About The Author

obias Wilczek, University Instructor in German Studies, University of Toronto

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Related Books

Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future

by Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann
1786634295How climate change will affect our political theory—for better and worse. Despite the science and the summits, leading capitalist states have not achieved anything close to an adequate level of carbon mitigation. There is now simply no way to prevent the planet breaching the threshold of two degrees Celsius set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. What are the likely political and economic outcomes of this? Where is the overheating world heading? Available On Amazon

Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

by Jared Diamond
0316409138Adding a psychological dimension to the in-depth history, geography, biology, and anthropology that mark all of Diamond's books, Upheaval reveals factors influencing how both whole nations and individual people can respond to big challenges. The result is a book epic in scope, but also his most personal book yet. Available On Amazon

Global Commons, Domestic Decisions: The Comparative Politics of Climate Change

by Kathryn Harrison et al
0262514311Comparative case studies and analyses of the influence of domestic politics on countries' climate change policies and Kyoto ratification decisions. Climate change represents a “tragedy of the commons” on a global scale, requiring the cooperation of nations that do not necessarily put the Earth's well-being above their own national interests. And yet international efforts to address global warming have met with some success; the Kyoto Protocol, in which industrialized countries committed to reducing their collective emissions, took effect in 2005 (although without the participation of the United States). Available On Amazon

enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfrdehiiditjakomsfaptruesswsvthtrurvi

POLITICS

What Does The Dutch Court Ruling On Climate Targets Mean For Australia?
What Does The Dutch Court Ruling On Climate Targets Mean For Australia?
by Katherine Lake
In a landmark ruling, The Hague District Court has ordered the Netherlands government to take more action to reduce its…
How Students Grow Their Community Roots And Critical Consciousness
How Students Grow Their Community Roots And Critical Consciousness
by Jennifer D. Adams and Pieranna Pieroni
Iris, a high school student in New York City, took a course aimed at preparing public school students for college.
7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It
7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It
by Jessica Corbett
We all need to work together to nurture a habitable planet for future generations and to play our part in building a…
Half-Submerged Trump Head, Says Artist, Designed to Silence Destructive Words and Deeds of US President
Half-Submerged Trump Head, Says Artist, Designed to Silence Destructive Words and Deeds of US President
by Eoin Higgins
"The idea was to gag Trump, to silence him, but he continues to speak."
'The Climate Crisis Doesn't Go on Summer Holiday, And Neither Will We,' Says Greta Thunberg as #FridaysForFuture Returns to the Streets
The Climate Crisis Doesn't Go on Summer Holiday, And Neither Will We, Says Greta Thunberg as #FridaysForFuture Returns to the Streets
by Jessica Corbett
A campaigner in Nigeria adds, "It doesn't matter the course you study nor your age, we need you to join climate…
Amazon Deforestation
by BBC News
Brazilian officials have told the BBC that there's been an aggressive increase in deforestation since the election of…
Energy Commons: From Energy Transition To Climate Justice
Energy Commons: From Energy Transition To Climate Justice
by Cécile Blanchet
In 2019, only oil lobbyists and shabby orange politicians persist in denying the influence of human activities on the…
'Straight Out of Orwell': While Slashing Climate Regulations, Trump Plans Speech Touting His 'Environmental Leadership'
'Straight Out of Orwell': While Slashing Climate Regulations, Trump Plans Speech Touting His 'Environmental Leadership'
by Jake Johnson
Trump "plans to go on the offensive against criticism of his industry-friendly rollbacks of environment protections" in…

LATEST VIDEOS

5 Ways To Be A Responsible Wildlife Tourist
5 Ways To Be A Responsible Wildlife Tourist
by Tracie McKinney
Imagine walking through a lush tropical forest. You hear a rustle overhead, and a half-eaten fruit plops onto the…
Climate Change Is Affecting Crop Yields And Reducing Global Food Supplies
Climate Change Is Affecting Crop Yields And Reducing Global Food Supplies
by Deepak Ray
Farmers are used to dealing with weather, but climate change is making it harder by altering temperature and rainfall…
The Arctic Paradox
by Tobias Thorleifsson
Explore Ellesmere Island with Tobias in this talk, as he urges us to protect this arctic environment from the hands of…
Increased Drought Amid Climate Change & Warming
by Kate Marvel, Radio Ecoshock
Columbia/NASA scientist Kate Marvel explains “hyroclimate” as rains and droughts go extreme. When it comes to your…
7 Surprising Results From The Reduction Of Arctic Sea Ice Cover
by David Barber
It is now well known that sea ice in the Arctic has changed in both extent and thickness over the past several decades.
Half-Submerged Trump Head, Says Artist, Designed to Silence Destructive Words and Deeds of US President
Half-Submerged Trump Head, Says Artist, Designed to Silence Destructive Words and Deeds of US President
by Eoin Higgins
"The idea was to gag Trump, to silence him, but he continues to speak."
'The Climate Crisis Doesn't Go on Summer Holiday, And Neither Will We,' Says Greta Thunberg as #FridaysForFuture Returns to the Streets
The Climate Crisis Doesn't Go on Summer Holiday, And Neither Will We, Says Greta Thunberg as #FridaysForFuture Returns to the Streets
by Jessica Corbett
A campaigner in Nigeria adds, "It doesn't matter the course you study nor your age, we need you to join climate…
Anchorage Hits 90 Degrees for First Time in Recorded History
Anchorage Hits 90 Degrees for First Time in Recorded History
by Jake Johnson
"This is unprecedented. I tease people that Anchorage is the coolest city in the country—and climatically that is…

LATEST ARTICLES

It's Time To Wake Up To The Devastating Impact Flying Has On The Environment
It's Time To Wake Up To The Devastating Impact Flying Has On The Environment
by Roger Tyers
While in many countries new cars, domestic appliances, and even houses now have mandatory energy efficiency…
5 Ways To Be A Responsible Wildlife Tourist
5 Ways To Be A Responsible Wildlife Tourist
by Tracie McKinney
Imagine walking through a lush tropical forest. You hear a rustle overhead, and a half-eaten fruit plops onto the…
What Does The Dutch Court Ruling On Climate Targets Mean For Australia?
What Does The Dutch Court Ruling On Climate Targets Mean For Australia?
by Katherine Lake
In a landmark ruling, The Hague District Court has ordered the Netherlands government to take more action to reduce its…
How Solar Heat Drives Rapid Melting Of Parts Of Antarctica's Largest Ice Shelf
How Solar Heat Drives Rapid Melting Of Parts Of Antarctica's Largest Ice Shelf
by Craig Stewart
The ocean that surrounds Antarctica plays a crucial role in regulating the mass balance of the continent’s ice cover.
How China’s Sponge Cities Aim To Re-use 70% Of Rainwater
How China’s Sponge Cities Aim To Re-use 70% Of Rainwater
by Asit K. Biswas and Kris Hartley
Asian cities are struggling to accommodate rapid urban migration, and development is encroaching on flood-prone areas.
Aviation Emissions Are Rising – And Industry Solutions Are Just Technological Myths
by Paul Peeters, et al
Imagine you are the government’s Minister for Transport: the economy is prospering, global oil prices are falling, and…
With Climate Change Likely To Sharpen Conflict, NZ Balances Pacifist Traditions With Defence Spending
by David Belgrave
In most countries, the question of whether to produce guns or butter is a metaphor for whether a country should put its…
Climate Change Is Putting Even Resilient And Adaptable Animals Like Baboons At Risk
by Isabelle Catherine Winder
Baboons are large, smart, ground-dwelling monkeys. They are found across sub-Saharan Africa in various habitats and eat…