As we approach the end of the decade, it is sometimes nice to look back over the last 10 years and think about what has changed.

For me, I have started and finished secondary school and became an undergraduate at university in this decade. I also legally became an adult. This has meant that I am able to vote, a way to use my voice to help invoke change, either small or big, by my actions and my choices.

This decade has been one of change, and one of those changes has been young people finding their voice, either by exercising their right to vote, or by joining in the various strikes that have taken place.

image from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47250424

One thing the upcoming General Election and the climate strikes that have been happening have in common is that they have the power to make change. That change could start with you.

Many people argue that they aren’t going to do something because it won’t make a difference. When it comes to voting and climate strikes, you only need to look at the statistics of the rise in numbers of voters and the number of people participating in the climate strikes to know you are not alone. You are one of many people expressing that they want to see some change.

image from: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/elections/voting/

There aren’t any voting statistics about students alone, so I will have to generalise and assume the average age of a student is under 34 years old. According to iNews, nearly 1.3 million people under the age of 34 registered to vote in the past four months. That’s a 50 per cent increase in registrations compared to the same period before the 2017 general election was announced. The total registrations among under 35s is 1,357,436 for 2019, compared to 755,785 in 2017. This represents an 80% increase.

Back in September, there was what was said to be the biggest-ever environmental strike that the UK has ever seen. The strike saw 300,000 to 350,000 taking part across more than 200 different locations across the UK. This strike wasn’t just national, it was international. Millions of people across the globe were protesting to send a clear message – that we need urgent climate action.

These figures are staggering. They prove that, as a generation, we are starting to care more about using our voice in elections and exercising our right to protest. They prove that if you care about something, you should stand up and say something because you could start a revolution.

The statistics below prove that our turnout is on the rise, so hopefully with registrations going up, we will be able to keep turnout that way.

To read more about the statistics surrounding the rise of young people registering for the General Election have a read of this article by Chris Allnutt.

You’ll probably already have heard the name Greta Thunberg if you know anything about the climate strikes. She is proof that one voice can make a change. One day last summer, she skipped school, sat down outside the Swedish parliament – and inadvertently kicked off a global movement. Whilst not every single issue that is protested gets this kind of attention, this issue is affecting our planet. It is never too late to jump on the bandwagon, especially if you want to see change.

So, what can you do about all this? Firstly, you need to actually go out and vote. There is a general election in the UK on Thursday and if you want to see change you need to go out and vote for it. If you are not already registered, go and register now. You won’t be able to vote this time, but you can be ready for the next time there is a vote. Another thing you can do is write to your local MP about the issues you care about. Do some research and see if they have a history of voting one way or another on your issue.

In order to reduce your carbon footprint, there are lots of options. It depends on how much change you want to make. To start small, have a look at the five R’s below. This is the order of which you need to think about consumption and how you can reduce your carbon footprint.

image from: https://www.goingzerowaste.com/blog/5-ways-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint

There are lots of other ways you can help reduce your footprint. Think about the transport that you use, try and walk or bike more and use your car less. Another thing is to think about your water consumption. Take a shorter shower and don’t leave the tap running when brushing your teeth. There are lots of other things you can do, so have a read of one of my previous blogposts here to see if there is a change that you would like to make.

Making change isn’t an easy thing to do. It sometimes requires people to push their comfort zone and change their routine to be different to what they are used to. If you choose to make a change, then every little does help. If everyone was to have a shorter shower and bring their own bags to shop with, think of how much of a difference that could make.

You don’t need to change everything about your life, just make one small change and it might just change the world.