Youth, the world is yours

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This is a post for young people.

During three full days, the future of resources has been discussed at the World Resource Forum. The average age of the active participants of the conference is rather high. This means: these people debating on the future of our society are not the ones who will see their previsions take place or not! The ones who will experience the reality, are the young inhabitants of this Earth. The youth, it’s you.

And you know what the conference participants want to tell you? It is variable. There are three categories of people:

1. the ones who are confident that their generation will solve the problems they have created
2. the ones who are worried, yet confident that solutions exist and just hope that the next generations will be able to implement them
3. the ones who believe that there will be a major change in society, and no matter what, it cannot continue the way it is today.

Ludwig Hermann for instance believes that the problems we are facing now will be resolved soon. He tells you: “be confident, because we will manage the problem”. Yonglong Lu has faith in the smartness of people, the youth are even smarter and they will find more resources. Christian Ludwig is not scared at all, because the older generation is working on the solutions for the future.

Less confident, Harry Lehmann says that he is “worried but optimistic”. Despite his worries about the resource use of the future, he is convinced that the technology exists to increase the resource productivity. What we need is now to take action and implement the solutions.

Bill Worrell is concerned that future generations will be affected by today’s unnecessary use of resources. For Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek, we can no longer use goods as per our greed but as per our needs. We need a systemic change, says Marina Fischer-Kowalski, else we will face huge distributional conflicts, the poor being hurt worst, leading to class struggles and revolts.

Youth, all the participants agree on one point: you have an important role to play. You have to get involved. Lakshmi Raghupathi invites you to take the lead on the mission for sustainability. Alexa Lutzenberger says: “the youth of the world has a chance to change it, so just do it!”. Shaoyi Li invites you to join now: “Our generation will do our best, but the future is yours, don’t wait, just join us because you are the owner of the world and of the future”. You have to remind the grown-ups that you have to stay on this planet, as says Beatrice Huber. “Don’t believe anyone who tells you that they know what a sustainable society looks like”, says Marilyn Mehlmann. “You know just as well as them, so let’s get building it together”. Marina Fischer-Kowalski encourages the youth to fight for generational equity, because the older generations will not do it. Internet technologies are a chance, but make sure that they are not misused against you. You carry a great responsibility on your shoulders: if you are not able to use the planet in a sustainable way, “we are finished”, says Mahesh Pradhan. H.M.L.C Jayawardhana wishes good luck to all of you.

So, youth, you will have a lot of work to do! What is your opinion on that? Are you ready to fight for generational equity? Are you ready to take over the responsibility of the future of the planet?
Because we, you, the planet, we all need your action!

Listen to the original messages of the WRF participants:
The role of the youth in sustaining natural resources – WRF2011 participant statements by Studentreporter

Listen to Martina Fischer-Kowalski’s interview:
Interview with Ms Fischer Kowalski by Laura Burger Chakraborty
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5 thoughts on “Youth, the world is yours

  1. Hi Laura, my message for “the youth” would simply be, have fun, remain open and curious, and, indeed, as Marilyn Mehlmann said, do not be afraid. Dare to move. Knowing that you make the difference. And once you get older and enter the professional life, either in a government, education institution or company, don’t give up and keep using your knowledge and commitment to do the right thing.

    Keep the contact with us, don’t think the conference is over so you can surf away, but rather focus and zoom in on one specific idea you have, tell us what should be done, and let us together work to make the next World Resources Forum even more hard hitting, with a truly bold chair’s statement.

  2. Thanks Laura for bringing up this subject and pointing at the fact that our youth is an essential generator of change! Where I work at euforia, an NGO in Geneva created by young people for young people, we aim at highlighting the potential of our generation through projects like imp!act. Here is its description:

    Talking doesn’t cook rice…but your projects do!

    You got plenty of ideas and projects to launch in the social, environmental and humanitarian fields? Or you want to know more about fairtrade, human trafficking and climate change in order to show our society that our generation is active? Get in touch with 250 highly-enthusiastic young people from all over Europe, 15 experts in social entrepreneurship and 30 organisations who will multiply your ideas and motivation! There are only a 60 places left and the deadline for applications is on next Monday the 10th so Apply now!

    When: October 26 – 30th

    Where: University of Geneva

    Who: 250 participants from all over Europe, aged 18-28

    Organizers: euphoric people!

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