For the past several months, we’ve seen waves of protesters young and old take to the streets of Europe to urge politicians to act on the climate crisis. With the European Green parties posting their best-ever results in the European Parliament elections, it seems the protests were simply a foreshadowing of the environmental revolution that is starting to take place within the realms of politics.
The results propelled the Greens into second place in Germany and third place in France and elsewhere, amid a surge in excitement from young voters who faulted old-school parties for ignoring their concerns about the environment and offering few alternatives for a generation beset by economic pain following the global financial crisis. Although the far-right, anti-immigration parties also showed modest gains in voters, it is the Greens that may have a bigger impact on policy.
The center-left and center-right parties that long jointly ruled the parliament have lost their majority, meaning they will need to depend on Greens and other centrists to advance their agenda. In total, the Greens secured 71 seats in the European Parliament—up from 52 seats five years ago. For all of us here at the Optimist Daily, seeing environmentalist ideals make their way into the most powerful policy-making body of Europe is one of the most exciting developments we’ve seen in years.