SMH: Lower the Voting Age to 16, to Drive Climate Action

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From Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

Two secondary school Greta minions have demanded the vote, so they can push aside all the older climate action blockers. But there is a reason we don’t allow kids to vote.

If we have to fight this war, give us a say in the battle plans

ByArlo Foyn Hill and Qing Ng
February 6, 2023 — 5.00am

On Wednesday, Ross Gittins wrote an apology to his grandkids for not fighting the war of our times. He questioned whether the politicians pushing the government’s flawed climate policy were quietly banking on not being around long enough to have to explain their actions to their grandkids.

Young people will bear the brunt of climate change impacts but have also driven a global movement calling for action from world leaders – our elders. We are the ones who will face worsening extreme weather, and should have a say in what our leaders are doing to keep us safe.

It is clear that if we are to make real progress towards a sustainable future the time has come for us to pass the microphone to the younger generation.

From the age of 16, young people can drive, work, pay taxes and even enlist in the military. A whole demographic of working, contributing citizens given civic duties but withheld from one of the most important civic rights: the right to vote.

Younger people are politically engaged and contribute an essential voice. In a world where the climate emergency is such a defining issue, it is vital that the voice of the future is invited to the table to work towards solutions, rather than handing over everything to those who think they may not be around to see extreme consequences.

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One important life event most 16 year olds have not experienced is paying their own utility bills.

In my opinion, the main reason most people don’t support radical climate action to the extent many 16 year olds do, is adults with real responsibilities prefer to have enough money left to buy food, after paying all the bills.