Youth Movements – The World Needs You

4 minutes to read

Lately, world events have been terrifying and shocking for me and many of my peers (aka Facebook friends). It seems that people in power, political candidates, and those who are scared of change are reverting to isolationism as a tactic for pumping the breaks on our transition to becoming a global community. Now there are some deep sociological, economic, and political explanations for why all of these things are happening, and that’s not what I’m going to attempt to dissect or explain here.

Kate summit.jpg
Youth presenting energy solutions 
at the 2015 International Summit.

What I want to talk about is the power of youth movements to change our future. I firmly believe that the events we have seen lately are just a setback, they are not what will determine the course of history. I can believe this because I’ve experienced the incredible power of youth movements.

Our best example, and the one that launched the Student Energy movement, is the International Student Energy Summit. The Summit unites university students from over 100 countries, every major world religion, and distinct academic disciplines. They are all there to work on solutions that will accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable energy future.

Unlike other international forums where discussions are scripted, the Summit is pure collaboration and innovation - harnessing the strength of diverse perspectives truly working together. It creates an energy and feeling that is difficult to put into words. Everyone who has experienced it can agree the Summit produces a life-changing level of empowerment for everyone involved. 

The really beautiful thing is that the Summit is just one small example of what our generation can contribute to the world. Our generation grew up in the digital age, knowing that connecting with someone from halfway around the world is incredibly exciting, not something to be scared of. And while I see the Summit as a prime example of our generation’s ability to break through cultural barriers in the name of solutions, I know it’s not the only one.

The reason youth movements can be so powerful is young people aged 15-25, of any generation, have brains that are hard-wired for innovation. This has been proven scientifically, but one of our favorite quotes at Student Energy sums it up best: “We’re too young to know that we can’t do what we’re already doing.” And that’s just it, young people haven’t been taught to close their worldview off, or closely guard their ideas so instead they collaborate and innovate.

Plus, as much as people like to call us the “lazy millennials,” the reality is the opposite. In a recent Pew Survey, over 80% of US millennials reported that it’s important for them that they engage in work that gives back to the community, and more millennials than any generation before them are involved in social change movements around the world.

It’s time for us to double down on our inherent abilities. Between being hard-wired for innovation, fluent in global connections and our drive to make the world a better place youth have the opportunity to change the world’s trajectory.

We can embrace the positive contributions of previous generations while remaining confident that we can carve our own course. We create a system where collaboration is the norm and sustainable solutions are our focus. We can create a global system that works together to solve the problems that impact us all.

_MG_5790.JPG I for one will be pushing forward in the world of energy. To show how intergenerational collaboration, support for innovation, and space for diverse voices to be heard can give us a sustainable energy future where there’s equitable energy access around the globe, a prosperous global economy, and a thriving environment.

I encourage everyone else to find the space where you too can contribute to moving people beyond what divides us to a space where we can find common ground and dig into lasting solutions. The world needs our humanitarian drive, innovation mindset, and willingness to collaborate more than ever. I encourage youth everywhere to stand up for your inherent skills and put them to good use. Together we’ll fuel the future.