Importance Of Young Voices For A Sustainable Future

We as young people can make tangible differences by taking actions to achieve these SDGs and urge governments and businesses to change their practices in order to do the same.

When I was younger and I started watching the news, I was bombarded by everything that was wrong with the world. A daily prediction that the apocalypse is upon us. Deforestation, rise in temperature, the impending scarcity of fossil fuels and people dying due to disease and hunger. It broke my heart. I used to stare at the screen feeling helpless. What could I do to make this better? But at the same time, I thought who was I to make a difference? What could my small actions do to solve a global problem? After all, I was just a child. 

Fast forward to today, and young people are leading some of the world's greatest movements for a sustainable future. The 18-year-old Greta Thunberg and 24-year-old Malala Yousafazi have shown us the power of the voice of the youth. They have shown us that our voices can be heard at the highest levels and there has never been a more urgent need for it. 

We as young people have inherited a damaged world with an impending environmental breakdown. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has declared ‘code red’ for humanity.  Our oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic, the glaciers are melting and extreme climate events threaten us.

We disproportionately have to bear the burden of trying to rapidly if not instantly fix these problems or our future remains uncertain. With older generations failing to act, the responsibility is now on our shoulders. 

The United Nations have set the Sustainable Development Goals for all nations to achieve by 2030. These goals outline in detail what we need to achieve to reverse the damage on our planet across all domains from health to climate change. We as young people can make tangible differences by taking actions to achieve these SDGs and urge governments and businesses to change their practices in order to do the same.

If you, like me, see problems with the world around you, just know that you have it in your power to make a difference. Go through the SDG goals and find the one that resonates most with you. Maybe you might feel powerless to fight deforestation in the Amazon, but you might find that the amount of plastic waste generated at home or in your residential complex is something you can take action on. 

A goal that personally resonated with me was Goal 3, Good Health and Wellbeing. I battled being overweight for most of my childhood and realised that so many struggles with obesity in India. Beyond that, I saw the problem of cancer and heart disease spreading rapidly. This made me realise the need to educate people, especially children in schools about taking care of their health so that they can grow up to prevent these diseases. That is how I started my organisation, HealthSetGo. Today we work with schools across India. We have impacted over 250,000 students and are looking to reach 1 million students with health education by 2023.

I went through my own journey of starting to change the world through entrepreneurship, but everyone’s journey can look different. There are many ways to influence change. You can join youth movements happening around the world, such as the Act4Food Act4Change movement that is getting young people from all across the world to pledge for better food systems by 2030.  There are volunteer groups in every city of India doing grassroots change such as the Global Shapers Community. You can try and connect with people around you who are as passionate as you to make a difference.

But you should know that even a small action that you take today, whether you’re young or old, is going to make the world a better place.

Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”. I believe that even if all of us follow this, the future of our planet is in safe hands. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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