Today, there are 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10-24 and close to 90 percent of them live in developing countries. These numbers are expected to grow. 1.9 billion young people are projected to turn 15 between 2015 and 2030. It’s important that young people mobilize to realize the change they want in the world. In today’s context, many youth are concerned and informed citizens who can advocate for change and youth activism is increasing rapidly.
An activist can be described as person who strongly believes in political or social change, takes part in activities to try and make this happen. They step up to do something about an issue they are passionate about, instead of merely complaining about the problem or waiting for someone else to take action.
So whether you’re passionate about climate change, lack of awareness around certain diseases, animal welfare or even policies that affect you, you can take small actions to do something about it. But if you do need a push to get started, here are three young people who will inspire you to work towards your cause.
In 2014, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person in history to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – at the age of 17. She is known around the world for defying the Taliban in Pakistan by demanding that girls should be allowed to receive an education. Due to this, she was shot by a Taliban gunman while on a school bus.
After surviving, her passion didn’t waver. She went on to become an activist for young girls and women everywhere. Through the Malala Fund which was established with her father, she campaigned for girls to recieve an education. Today, she’s a student at University of Oxford, and continues to balance her studies and foundation work. She showed us that it is sometimes the voice of a young girl from a marginalized community which can be the much-needed spark for large scale global change.
Roske-Martinez is a prominent youth activist on climate change, who has started campaigning at the age of six. He made a powerful speech at the United Nations in 2015. He was just fifteen years old at the time and his speech became famous on social media. He talked about the world’s inability to take meaningful action on climate change.
He works as the Youth Director of Earth Guardians, a worldwide conservation organization that he founded. Through this platform he has travelled around the world, educating young people and inspiring them to take action. He has also worked towards getting pesticides out of parks. Moreover, he is one of the 21 people who have sued the US Federal Government for failing to act on climate change.
Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg has motivated students across the globe, inspiring them to take greater action on climate change.
At the age of eight, she first learned about climate change and was shocked that adults did not appear to be taking the issue seriously. It was one of the reasons that led to her depression a few years later.
In 2018, she started skipping school and sat outside the Swedish Parliament demanding for their policies to fall in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. She inspired strikes all around the world and wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. In March 2019, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Now that she is active on climate, she is no longer lonely, silent or depressed. She is too busy trying to make a difference.