In last week’s post, we defined sustainable development as: “De
velopment that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” An integral part of any development plan is youth because they are that “future generation” that will need to be able to meet their own needs. But youth are not some distant group that will have to worry about resources later: they can be an active part of finding solutions today.
Watch this very short video by Philippe Cousteau, an ocean conservationist and founder of EarthEcho International, an environmental organization just for youth, about how incredibly important he thinks young people are in building “the sustainable future we all deserve.” Philippe is the Chief Spokesperson for the Yeosu World Expo, which will take place from May 12-August 12 in South Korea and feature pavilions built by many different countries. The theme of the U.S. Pavilion is The Living Ocean and Coast).
One group of young people dedicating themselves to the issues of sustainable development all over the world is SustainUS, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of young people advancing sustainable development and youth empowerment.” Though they are located in the United States, the Sustain US youth “agents” attend sustainable development and other environmental conferences all over the world. Their website has more information on their projects and how to get involved. Don’t miss the most recent guest blog by a SustainUS Agent in Brazil about the role of youth in water negotiations.
Youth empowerment is not just the domain of organizations: governments have taken notice as well. The African Union declared in 2009 that the years of 2009-2019 would be the “decade of youth development” in Africa. Read the Youth Charter here. and check out the African Youth Forum 2011 website, which has the slogan “Prepare the Youth. Prepare Africa’s Future.” You can connect with other youth on their social media properties: Facebook and Twitter (@AYF2011). Even though the Forum was last year, there are active postings and discussions on these social media sites.
Do you agree that young people can make a difference now on issues of sustainability?