During a visit to Germany on Saturday, former President Obama praised youth activists who have led protests around the world to demand action on climate change, saying that the sooner activism starts the better.
“A lot of those people can’t vote,” Obama said during a meeting in Berlin, according to AFP. “They’re too young to vote. But they know what’s going on.”
“They’re making change,” Obama continued. “And those habits, and that sense of power they’re developing now, that’s going to carry over for the rest of their lives.”
Obama, who was in Germany to promote his foundation, later said “the sooner you start, the better” when discussing their advocacy.
“You wouldn’t let your grandparents decide what music you listen to, or what clothes you wear. Why let them decide what world you will live in,” he said. “Things change when we strongly mobilize. Our planet on which we live is in danger. We can’t succeed by sitting back and waiting for someone else to do it.”
Obama’s remarks came about a month after students from almost 100 countries helped lead demonstrations that called for governments to take more proactive steps to combat climate change.