Thank you for taking this crucial first step to learn and take actions towards protecting our environment. Only by educating ourselves, building on the success of one another, and learning from mistakes can we work towards a better future.
In my chapter, youth’s influence on the environment is analyzed through three categories: Attitudes and Awareness, Apathy and Waste, and Activism and Involvement. I included Attitudes and Awareness before the other two categories because I believe that our beliefs about the environment ultimately shape our behavior, for better or for worse. Educating oneself about environmental degradation can often encourage one to action, although it may also lead to withdrawn dejection.
In examining youth’s impact on the environment, it is important to recognize that today’s young people are growing up in a world more environmentally conscious than that of their parents and grandparents. As such, many young people have become pioneers in environmental activism, raising awareness, founding nonprofit organizations, and even suing their own state and federal governments to help slow (and hopefully halt) environmental degradation.
However, youth have unfortunately had negative influence on the environment as well. This often stems from apathy that leads youth to forsake conservation and activism in favor of wasteful behavior. Today, only 3 out of 10 young people take active roles in protecting the environment, with 6 out of 10 young people believing that the previous generation left them worse off as far as the environment. Such statistics attest to the prevalence of apathy and the lack of widespread activism; however, they also highlight the potential for growth and progress.
As youth we are equipped to change the unfriendly environmental norms for the better by raising awareness and encouraging involvement. My time at WorldLink has allowed me to explore, learn, and gain more insight on how I can contribute to protecting the environment. I hope this chapter does the same for you. By educating ourselves now, we help ensure that, as the leaders of tomorrow, we do our part to protect the environment and pass the scepter of conservation and activism to future generations.
Amir Rezvani, Rancho Bernardo High School
WorldLink 2015 Summer Intern