Integrating Youth Perspectives: Adopting a Human Rights and Public Health Approach to Climate Action.
Climate change is a multidimensional issue that affects all aspects of society, including public health and human rights. Climate change is already severely impacting people's health and threatening people's guaranteed fundamental rights, including those to life, health, self-determination, and education, among others. Across geographical regions, population groups and communities who are already marginalized due to age, gender, ethnicity, income, and other socioeconomic factors, are those who are disproportionately affected by climate impacts despite having contributed the least to global emissions. Although scholars have been calling for a human rights-based approach and a health perspective to climate action, the literature looking at this multidisciplinary intersection is still nascent, and governments have yet to implement such intersectoral policies. This commentary begins to reflect on the relationship between climate change, human rights, and public health from the perspective of young people engaged in climate action and discourse at the national and international levels. It presents a way forward on what we, as youth climate advocates and researchers, believe is a priority to bring intersectoral integration of human rights and public health approaches to climate change to fruition. First, scholars and practitioners should examine and support youth-led climate interventions that tackle human rights and public health violations incurred by the climate crisis. Second, participatory approaches to climate change must be designed by working synergistically with climate-vulnerable groups, including children and young people, practitioners and scholars in public health and human rights sectors to holistically address the social, health, and environmental impacts of the climate crisis and root causes of injustice. Finally, we recommend more holistic data collection to better inform evidence-based climate policies that operationalize human rights and public health co-benefits.