International Youth Day is observed on August 12 starting from 2000 with this year's theme, “Building a better world for our children”. This day is designated to draw attention for a set of cultural and legal issues surrounding the youth and in bringing a change in tackling the global environmental issues and to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world's youth and children today.
As we saw in the past, there are many more rules, laws, conventions meant for protecting the environment but there is no effective implementation. So the youth need to play a vital role for the implementation to save our pristine environment. Young people from the age of 15 to 24 years constitute 1.2 billion people of the world’s population and they will have to live longer to deal with the consequences of environmental issues.
Youth can play an active role in protecting and improving the environment by changing their lifestyle. They can make their homes, schools and surroundings by adopting environmentally friendly practices.
Engaging youth in environmental protection not only creates a direct impact on changing their behaviors and attitudes but possibly influences their parents, families and relatives.
Youth is the backbone of the nation for the present and future. They can change society with their well being and courageous behavior. Unfortunately today we find that the youth choose to spend most of their valuable time playing video games, Whatsapps, Facebooks and other social media. But by applying the knowledge for greening at home, schools and other public places, they can make our country a beautiful place to live. Youth have to live for an extended period with the deteriorating environment bequeathed to them by the earlier generations.
In politics, youth can play a vital role in influencing the general public and calling political leaders to account for long-term environmental decisions. Young people are often the target of commercials, not just because of any disposable income they may possess, but because corporations promoting goods and services have a vested interest in establishing high-consumption patterns that will last a lifetime. The most nefarious example is tobacco advertising targeting young people to encourage them early use and lifelong addiction and the same logic applies to other consumer goods also.
As more youth grow up in a world characterised by advanced and reliable information technologies, many are harnessing this opportunity by creating innovative and sustainable environmental solutions. More than ever before there is a need to start early by imparting awareness and a sense of environmental stewardship among the youth of today and future generations.
Youth around the globe are taking the opportunity to commemorate the environmental events by initiating awareness programs and sharing ideas with family and community members on how to protect the environment. Youth are increasingly using the power of their collective voice to advocate, lobby and lead campaigns towards adopting environmentally-friendly practices and policies. For Manipur, to save our degraded environment and ecology, we need to evoke the youth power of the state to save our once very luxurious but now well degraded hills and valleys.
In the global scenario, more youth continue to adopt both conventional and unconventional methods to contribute to environmental care and protection. Youth have already begun mobilizing their peers on social media or other online interactions to discuss, debate and advocate for better environmental conservation. Their efforts range from local initiatives to international campaigns, some influential enough to reach policymakers and national leaders. As more youths are connected, they are also using virtual platforms to educate, raise awareness, expand outreach and share knowledge for environmental concerns. Likewise, youth are instrumental in advocating for, “Life on Land,” which resolves to restore and conserve the earth’s terrestrial ecosystems, forests and biodiversity.
Thus, youth participation in supporting and engaging in environmental conservation requires a holistic and inclusive approach and they should take the lead role in platforms related to the protection of the environment, at the local, national and global levels. To harness their talents and innovations, there is a need to ensure that youth are equal partners and torchbearers in creating and implementing the goals toward environmental sustainability.
Therefore with the coming of International Youth Day, 2022, let’s evoke the youths particularly the youths of the state to participate in protection of our environment for sake of a beautiful mother earth and the future children.
(The views expressed are personal)