Barack Obama Offers Advice To Young Climate Change Activists


Barack Obama

Photo: Getty Images

Barack Obama may not be an elected official anymore, but he still commands a crowd when he speaks on the world's stage. Yesterday, the former President attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. During a nearly hourlong speech, the former U.S. Senator directed the majority of his remarks to young climate change activists that may have watched online.

“The most important energy for this movement is coming from young people,” Obama told the crowd as he received applause, according to Yahoo! News.

“They have more at stake in this fight than anybody else. That’s why I want to spend the rest of my time talking directly to young people who may be watching and wondering what they can do to help.”

The former President attempted to offer a bit of advice to younger activists leading the movement. While there are a number of things that may frustrate younger leaders regarding global climate change policy, he urges them to "harness" their anger and channel it towards something positive.

“I want you to stay angry,” Obama told the youth, according to Yahoo! News.

“I want you to stay frustrated. But harness that anger.”

Once anger is harnessed, the best-selling author believes it can be used to reach across the aisle and reach those who "do not agree with us or are indifferent to the issue.”

“Protests are necessary to raise awareness. Hashtag campaigns can raise awareness. But to build the broad-based coalitions necessary for bold action, we have to persuade people who either currently do not agree with us or are indifferent to the issue," Obama said, according to Yahoo! News.

“To change the minds of those fellow citizens in our respective countries, we have to do a little more listening. We can’t just yell at them or say they’re ignorant. We can’t just tweet at them. It’s not enough to inconvenience them through blocking traffic in a protest. We actually have to listen to them and their objections.”

If changes are made in to the approaches of younger climate activists, the former President believes changes can be made.

“To change the minds of those fellow citizens in our respective countries, we have to do a little more listening,” Obama continued, according to Yahoo! News.

“We can’t just yell at them or say they’re ignorant. We can’t just tweet at them. It’s not enough to inconvenience them through blocking traffic in a protest. We actually have to listen to them and their objections.”

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