Global Day of Action: Youth urging the US Government to take action on addressing loss and damage caused by climate change

Youth climate activists organize global day of action to accompany open letter demanding that the US government take action to address climate-induced loss and damage.

Read the open letter here.

Youth climate activists from around the world are demanding justice and finance for climate-induced loss and damage (L&D) through a global day of action on Sunday, April 18th. The day of action includes in-person actions and virtual actions on social media, using the hashtag #LnDFinanceNow.

This follows the release of an open letter to the US Government to take ambitious action in addressing loss and damage from climate change. At the time of writing, the letter has over 100 signatories from 55+ countries. 

Loss and damage refers to the most severe impacts of climate change. From the Philippines to Honduras, countries and communities around the world are currently experiencing loss and damage from climate-induced disasters. These disasters compound the existing health and economic crises caused by COVID-19. Still, developed country governments who have benefited from pollution are blocking the provision of finance to pay for loss and damage. 

The day of action and open letter were coordinated by members of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition (LDYC), a new global alliance of young people demanding action on the most severe impacts of climate change. 

The open letter has the following five demands for the US Government:

  1. Take action on L&D:  Honour the rights of young people and future generations by prioritizing action on loss and damage.
  2. Open a finance window for L&D: Champion the establishment of a new window of additional finance for loss and damage.
  3. Pledge new finance for L&D: Make a substantial commitment of climate finance to the above-mentioned loss and damage finance window. This should start with a commitment of $10 billion and increase annually according to the US’ fair share of global loss and damage finance needs.
  4. Make L&D decision-making inclusive: Commit to making loss and damage decision-making inclusive by including youth and other oppressed peoples in policymaking.
  5. Meet with us: Meet with youth from the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition to discuss how the US, and other developed countries, will take action and provide finance for loss and damage.

Loss and Damage Youth Coalition Contact: 

Sadie DeCoste and Ineza Umuhoza, Co-Directors of Loss and Damage Youth Coalition 

Quotes from LDYC Members:

“Loss and Damage from climate change is already causing substantial harm around the world, especially to people who did little to cause it. The US has historically been and continues to be one of the world’s biggest polluting countries and yet has been blocking action and finance on loss and damage. We are asking the US government to take action by providing finance for developing countries and communities to address loss and damage.” — Sadie DeCoste, Co-founder and co-director of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition, Canada/UK, 

The current extent of climate change impacts result from the past climate injustice that the world designed. A result of vulnerable countries being powerless in ensuring inclusive participation on the decision-making table. We are a generation that doesn’t want only to blame; we want to influence concrete change on the political, community and society level. It is not a secret that the USA can play a substantial role in bringing hope to the world. We want that this time it will be youth-inclusive and take the frontline vulnerable community seriously.” — Ineza Umuhoza Grace, Co-founder and Co-director of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition, Rwanda,

Developing countries are disproportionately suffering the socioeconomic and environmental strains of climate change in the aftermath of decades of disadvantage. These states are also leading efforts to overcome this burden. It is high time that developed countries pay their debt by elevating their ambition to thwart Loss and Damage. The United States of America can enhance its leadership in our changing world by exemplifying action on this neglected cost of climate change as it rolls out renewed policies to meet its goals for reformation.” — Kervelle Baird, member of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition, Trinidad and Tobago,

Strengthening international cooperation and expertise in order to understand and reduce loss and damage must be a priority to the United States Government. Tackling loss and damage will require a human-rights centred approach that promotes justice and equity. Enhanced efforts today would ensure that we respond to calls from environmental justice movements everywhere for a mobilization that takes account of poverty everywhere, and to the demands of young people for intergenerational equity. Doménica Jaramillo, member of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition, Ecuador, 

“Our country is working on adaptation, and resiliency is becoming a part of our growth strategy. However, the effects of climate change are already beyond our ability to cope. That is why we need the rest of the world to not only feel our pain, our unrecoverable loss, but also to act. Creating successful court proceedings might have been a good way to start placing pressure on wealthy polluting countries to take action on loss and damage.” — Jefferson Estela, member of Loss and Damage Youth Coalition, Philippines,

“Marginalised people are suffering the consequences of climate change and forest destruction due to the logging, mining and oil Industry. The water access is a disaster in many regions and radical groups in the Rainforest endanger the security of our ethnic heritage. Many groups are migrating outside of their territories because the lack of basic resources don’t allow them to stay safely in their homes and they need to cross Guerrilla territories. COVID19 has put a great challenge to each nation, but especially in Indigenous communities. We need to protect and support them: a fund to save their lives. Because Indigenous Lives Matter too.” — Darien Castro, Ecuador, Member of LDYC

“There is no simpler way to say this. Loss and damage threatens us all in all ways we can imagine day by day. Due to climate change, our safety and our lives are threatened both insidiously and instantaneously seen in the continuous rise of sea levels, droughts, wild fires, storms, and typhoons. Livelihoods are also affected by the problems created by loss and damage with underdeveloped and developing countries being more burdened. Precious biodiversity that our future generation deserves to witness and protect is negatively impacted by loss and damage. With many loss of lives  as this scale coupled with the global pandemic, we must be resilient, proactive, and responsive more than ever before. We call on you to pledge your voice, translate your passion into action, and support our advocacy on this Day of Action for Loss and Damage. As one youth coalition, our voices have to be heard and our actions have to be acknowledged in order for change to begin.” — Alfredo Lorenzo R. Sablay, Philippines, Member of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition, 

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