On 12 August we will celebrate International Youth Day. The United Nations established the Day in 1999 to bring attention to issues faced by people aged 15 to 24. The theme of the Day this year — youth civic engagement — is intended to highlight the many contributions of young people to society through voluntary action, journalism, social enterprise and other endeavours.
The youth of today are significant drivers of change. Youth activism on environmental issues such as climate change, for example, is certainly having an impact.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, recently highlighted the “creative force and innovative impetus that young people bring to every society”. By putting this power to good use by employing it in seeking solutions to our planet’s problems, young people may not only lead better, more rewarding lives, but help to ensure that members of generations to come will be able to have good lives.
International Youth Day should serve as a reminder of our responsibility to safeguard our planet for future generations. Doing so necessitates having small families, consuming mindfully and taking other actions that will bring about sustainability.
As economist Herman Daly once said, “the basic needs of the future should take precedence over the extravagant luxury of the present.”