2015 was noted worldwide as the year of global action and 2016 has begun well with many shut-down of dirty energy sources and large investments into renewable energy. Despite this progress, environmental protection is not yet at its peak and even minimal in some regions of the world. This clearly indicates an urgent need for advocacy and literacy in environmental protection and sustainability. Youth and the working age group of the world – who are active and energetic need to stimulate a change in attitude and lifestyle. We (children and youth) are the future leaders and if we do not comprehend the importance of sustainable development, environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation, then the future ahead of us will be full of crisis.
30 years from now, it would not matter the kind of fancy car you ride, or mansion you have or even the yacht or jet you owe but what will matter most, is the quality of your environment – the air you breath, the water you drink and the food you consume. Will your children play around or walk to school wearing goggles and nose masks because the air is so polluted and smoggy? Probably, there will be no suitable waters, peaceful enough for you to enjoy the sail of the yacht you are dreaming of. There might be inadequate and less quality food products which will pose threat to your health, no potable water to drink – not to talk of other domestic usage. But wait, we are not there yet! We can avoid this, we are the youth, the future leaders and the global majority, our actions may not reverse global warming or climate change but surely, it can halt a warming planet and save our dying earth. Scientist project that we will need thrice the size of our planet in 2050 to sustain us and cater for the waste we generate but kindly note that there no planet for us. We have no certain plan B to Earth; attitudinal change and individual commitment to eco-friendly lifestyle is our way out – my plan B and yours too.
Over 1 million plastics are used every minute, globally – by whom? As a youth, ask yourself the number of times you shop in a month or even a week, the quantity of unneeded clothes, shoes and accessories you have in your closet, the number of technological devices you owe, the amount of water you use in a day and the quantity of waste you generate daily. Have you thought of your ecological footprint and how your lifestyle will inflict pain and discomfort to generations yet unborn? Change is difficult but I am sure it is more difficult to be recognized as a mass murderer of innocent kids than changing your lifestyle to save lives. You do not want to be mentioned as the generation that depleted majority of the planet’s resources and left is vulnerable for future generations to suffer.
Act now, youth of today. Stop wearing make-up every day, you are too young for that; Do not buy the newest technological device while the old one is not faulty and can still satisfy your needs, save that money and donate to credible humanitarian organizations to affect lives; Reduce the intake of red meat, climate effect has already caught up with us; plant a tree and contribute to global carbon reduction target; Adopt the purchase of organic farm products and campaign for organic farming; You do not need new clothes, shoes and accessories every week, the old ones can still serve their purpose; walk short distances and stop burning fuel unnecessarily. Start a garden in your home and eat what you grow. We are young, energetic and ambitious, we have a lot of fantasies and wishes, but it can all come to naught if we do not change our current lifestyles.
A daily post on a healthy environmental conscious lifestyle via the social media can save the world, you do not know the number of people who will believe and practice what you post. Use every available platform to campaign for sustainability because it is the greatest humanitarian act you can ever offer. Be the change you wish to see, stop the critics, do not blame only your president for the sanitation menace, water crisis, poor environmental quality, unemployment or the status of your economy – for our current human activities can cause disasters like flooding to collapse our built economy. Contribute your quota; start now, it is never too late. Let us reach 2030 with dignity and pride, knowing that we are protecting the environment whiles developing sustainably.
Author: Joshua Amponsem, Executive Director, Green Africa Youth Organization. (www.amponsem.wordpress.com)