“We need to make our voices heard”: Claiming space for young people’s everyday environmental politics in northern Finland
Recent years have seen a critical shift in young people’s political participation, as young people around the world have mobilized to demand greater climate actions. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork that consist of participant observation and 47 qualitative interviews with 15–16-year-olds residing in rural and urban areas in northern Finland, the paper contributes rural, regional and mundane perspectives on the topic of young people’s environmental politics. The paper sheds light on the myriad of ways in which young people practice environmental politics and construct their environmental citizenship and also discusses young people’s political action in relation to the friction and resistance their participation stirs up in the local communities. Although promoting active citizenship is a stated goal of the Finnish education system, young people’s active participation in mundane and local environmental politics is not always embraced in local communities. The paper argues for better recognition of and support for young people’s everyday environmental politics and for youth participation as a way to spark wider social, cultural, and political change.