Recently, there have been lots of examples of young people protesting against the current state of world affairs and the state of the environment. The deteriorating global climate seems to have galvanised many youngsters with 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg emerging as a role model. Her recent speech at the United Nations was full of passion, including anger at world leaders and previous generations for ruining the environment, thereby making the future of the current young generation look very bleak indeed. In fact, this sense of anger directed at past generations is increasingly defining the current crop of youth. Children and teenagers believe that their parents and grandparents have given them a broken world where there is chaos, economic depression, insecurity and environmental degradation. They are not wrong and we need to empathise with them. But blaming previous generations alone won’t achieve anything. Instead, the youth should focus on finding solutions to the problems. For, if we start digging for dirt there will always be things that previous generations will get blamed for. The idea ought to be, to look forward, not brood over the past. Besides, it is not that the previous generation did not give us anything positive. All the technological advancements in medical science and communications, the huge strides made in poverty reduction, the massive gains in life expectancy, and the great increase in material wealth have all been due to the hard work of the previous generation. True, inequality has also increased – and continues to increase – leading to many of the problems of today. But the youth of today that is so well-informed and practical, needs to find solutions for this, taking the help of adults so that something can be worked out together. Now, if the baby boomer generation had cribbed about the fact that they inherited a world destroyed by the Second World War, and remained resentful, we would have seen none of the progress in the post-war years. Instead of complaining about the past, baby boomers went about rebuilding the world, generating unprecedented prosperity. This is why it’s important for millennials and the youth today to not just protest about the past but dedicate themselves to finding solutions for the future. The past will always have imperfections. But the past also gives us positives. It is the reason why we are here. Therefore, instead of complaining about the hand we have been dealt, we should be grateful for the positives, recognise the negatives and look to build a better future. After all, we cannot do anything about the past. We can only accept it. However, we can change out present and future.
The youth should draw on their energy and creativity, and channel their strength towards creating a better world. They should always think positive and never lose hope. And once they start taking responsibility, they will realise that spirituality is their biggest strength. Oneness of humanity and oneness with nature are the keys to solving the problems of today. The ‘ecological grief’ that is being evidenced at the progressive degradation of the environment and loss of natural habitats can be channelled to efforts to repair and restore as much as is possible. In an interconnected world, and with digital networking, new technology, greater public awareness of ecological matters and with the help of spiritual insights that promote holistic lifestyles, the future could look bright.
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