5 reasons why young people are our future

I wrote this blog about why Global Action Plan (the organisation I work for) are working with young people to tackle the throwaway culture  and why GAP thinks young people are incredible. The original blog post can be found here. 

As one of the young people in the Global Action Plan team, I wanted to use this International Youth Day to tell you more about why GAP are working with young people to tackle the throwaway culture – and why GAP thinks young people are incredible!

1. There’s lots of us! 

Our current generation of youth is the largest in history. Millennials (born between 1981 and 1997) account for 27% of the global population – which is a phenomenal amount. As they say, there’s power in numbers, and we want to empower this huge generation to speak out and make a difference.

2. It’s our future that needs protecting 

As young people, we are the future. Franklin Roosevelt said “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future” and that’s exactly what GAP wants to do. For years we’ve talked about climate change as something that will happen in the future, but that future is creeping up on us (2016 was just confirmed as the hottest year on record.) so we need to be ready now. GAP is working to equip young people with the skills, knowledge and platforms to make a positive impact – with our Catalyst training course and our exciting new Youth Panel.

3. We care! 

According to the Deloitte Survey, 84% of millennials believe it is their duty to change the world. We are a generation that cares. We speak up against things we believe are wrong, we demand better from businesses and governments and we vote with our wallets picking brands that align with our values. A report on shopping habits found that 66% of millennials were willing to pay more for products that come from brands that are committed to positive and social environmental impact.

4. We’re not as driven by ‘stuff’ 

Many young people are already bucking the trend of ‘buy buy buy’ in favour of ‘do do do’ – favouring experiences over buying stuff. Many of us want to feel, rather than own. We want to go out and do something – a concert with friends, trip to the beach or bike ride in a National Park. And this of course is better for our wellbeing (and our purses if we don’t have expensive experiences!).

5. We’re already doing some incredible things 

A quick search on social media will show you some of the amazing things young people are doing around the world. Take Boyan Slat for example – at just 21 he set up the largest ocean clean-up project in history using new technologies he designed himself. Or look at our Positive for Youth Greater Goods Award winner, Grainne Martin-Wells, who has amplified the voice of young people as youth representative on the V-Inspired Our Bright Future Steering Group. Or look at Malala Yousafzai, who at 17 received the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for the incredible things she did to fight for female education. There are thousands of stories demonstrating how incredible our generation can be.

So this International Youth Day, I want to thank each and every young person out there who’s doing their bit for our world. Maybe you recycled today, said no to a straw or gave up your seat on the bus to help someone else. Whoever you are, wherever you are, ‘greenie’ or not, thank you for being part of such an inspiring generation and happy International Youth Day to you.

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