Why Youth Activism is Needed Today
Rachel Jackson said, “Our youth are not failing the system; the system is failing our youth.” Many people believe that youth activism is a new thing that young adults have been doing but, youth activism has been around since the 1950’s.
Youth activism is youth engagement in a community organization or social change. Many issues have been tackled by today’s youth, such as climate change, gun control, and education. Our generation has been forced to step up to the plate and solve our current global issues, knowing we will be the ones to feel the long-term effects. Youth activist Greta Thunberg is a huge contributor to youth activism. As a 16 year-old girl from Sweden, she created a huge movement in government policy for climate change. Her movement School Strike for Climate reached over 90 countries; each participating in the movement’s Friday’s for Future’s. This involved students, from all across the world, to protest outside their parliament building for legislative action on climate policies. This just goes to show how impactful youth activism can be.
Currently, youth-centered conversation programs are on the rise, but we need more global participation. With programs like Youth 4 African Wildlife, we are able to experience different types of conservation first-hand. And in return, become ambassadors for wildlife conservation. Being able to witness and listen first-hand, from the rangers who have been out in the game reserve trying to protect the animals from poachers, is enlightening; it puts things in a different perspective. It’s easy to feel helpless when hearing about poaching or the impending extinction of wildlife, but with programs like Y4AW, it helps youth understand conservation participation is attainable. The World Youth Wildlife Summit is another program that gets young adults involved in wildlife conservation. The goal of the summit is to teach youth about wildlife conservation and protection strategies. With an overarching aim to empower them to become local, national, and international ambassadors for wildlife and conservation. While influencing policy at local, state, national, and international levels. The summit will take place in Kruger National Park in September this year.
Why is youth activism needed today? Talking specifically about conservation, given the current rate of poaching and smuggling, future generations one day may speak of elephants, rhinos, and many other endangered species as we speak of mammoths. It is the responsibility of each generation to protect and guard wildlife for the following generation. We have not yet succeeded in securing the future of the world’s wildlife. Youth have a history of being leaders in social change. When change and information is coming from another youth peer, it shows that change is attainable and youth are able to cause that change. Hearing information about a heavy topic coming from other youths makes it easier for other youths to understand what is going on and how they can get involved. I believe that it is easier for information to get through to someone you consider an equal rather than a superior. This generation is the next generation of politicians, government officials, and world leaders. By getting a different perspective of the world through activism, it will make them better leaders. With issues such as climate change, wildlife conservation, gun-control, etc, youth can feel helpless, but activism provides youth with a sense of meaning, contribution, and belonging.
With social media growing and becoming more and more popular everyday, the youth of the world are able to reach people in a whole new way. Twitter and instagram, the two most popular social media apps, get things trending that the whole world ends up seeing. This is the new wave of activism. Hashtags can become the next movement and make people feel like they are a part of it just by using the hashtag and spreading the information.
Youth activism is a necessity if we to see change in our world. Our generation is the next generation of future leaders of the world. This is where we can make change happen.