It was International Youth Day on August 12th. That will have passed most people by, seeing as they’re so busy hurtling along in the present, living their own lives “of quiet desperation,” to keep up with the Joneses, to consume, have and possess their way to happiness – so who cares what the youth think? And besides, nobody took any notice of us when we were youth, so why should it be any different now?
Well, here are some excellent reasons as set out in a statement by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon:
Mine was a generation of ‘angry young men’, a generation that was pretty disdainful of the world we were inheriting from those older, who vowed to do a lot better and who claimed that we were going to put a lot of things right. When we look at the world today, we have to say we came up short in so many ways. As time went on, we lost the anger that fired us to want to change the world and fell, way too often, in to individual selfish narrow blinkered worlds obsessed with having, acquiring and using.
Just today I read a statement suggesting that in the last 50 years humans have consumed more of the earth’s resources than in all previous history. I also learned recently that in 2015 more people in the world died as a result of wars and conflicts than in any of the previous 25 years. Mankind cannot go on like this and if our generation is incapable or unwilling to think beyond short-term narrow interests, then it’s high time we gave scope for the voice of youth to be heard far stronger. Otherwise, they risk becoming a generation bowed down by cynicism and negativity and they will be no better than we were – instead of finding solutions they will just take over from us making things worse.
There has to be a better way.