By Sonia Aquije
Among all the societal trends, one of the most prominent is activism, but the exact form of it has evolved among those in Generation Y. Some of the forms of activism displayed range from demonstration to the most common, activism through social media.
However, do they really care about issues or just think it’s the “cool” thing to do? Do the young men and women have the power to change the world through activism?
Living in a generation that shuns mainstream ideals and looks for a way of being disincentive, I often think, what makes my generation so great? Do we act upon our own values or do we just follow blindly what everyone else is doing? Do we, the millennial generation, just share pictures or repost them to be seen as people who are educated on social issues and want change?
What does it take to be the generation known for being part of societal change instead of being described as the “Me” generation? There are social media campaigns that have launched people into becoming an “activist,” be it via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. With one “Like” or “share” you can be seen as the most caring individual, and that’s B.S.
There is only so much a “like” or “share” can do, and I applaud those individuals who organize and campaign for issues they’re passionate about. The entire concept of claiming if you “like” or “share” a picture will help a cause is a bit discouraging. Calling yourself an activist is farfetched if you haven’t fully submerged yourself into a cause.
We the youth, have all the tools to organize and make a difference in the world, it’s just how we utilize them that will define us a generation.
Defining an activist is easy. It’s a person who devotes their time to make a difference in the world ranging from the environment to social justice. But just how involved in activism is Generation Y? One of this year’s highlights of societal activism in America was The People’s March for Climate Change that I attended. And no they’re not hippies, but concerned citizens.
The Peoples Climate March was held Sept. 21, in New York, and it was all about global warming awareness. The march started from Columbus Circle to Times Square to the far West Side. And it was followed by the United Nations for a summit meeting on climate change on Tuesday, Sept.23. I didn’t plan on attending until my boyfriend mentioned it.
It was a great experience to have witnessed firsthand the solidarity and commitment from the marchers. Mothers carrying their babies, children holding up signs, people chanting, but, most importantly, I saw the youth animated in making a change to save our planet.
With colorful signs ranging from: “Humans for earth”; “Don’t frack”; “Climate justice for women”; “Jobs. Justice. Clean energy”; “Nuclear energy no thanks”; “Planet over profit” and “Occupy the future,” the march exemplified the urgency to save the planet.
There were faith, student, labor and environmental groups among the 1,000 organizations that participated. Prominent individuals such as Al Gore, the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon and celebrities Leo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo were among the attendees.
The marchers’ energy emitted a sense of hope for a greener future for all; it’s all about commitment. A moment of silence was observed early afternoon, where the marchers raised their arms and then, at 1 p.m., cries erupted from the crowds. It was a wonderful sight and a very empowering moment for all.
Generation Y is environmentally educated, but can they step-up to saving our planet? I can’t call myself a full-blown environmental activist after attending this march, but I am on my way to becoming one. I have served as President of Amnesty International at Kean and I do keep myself aware of human rights issues.
Generation Y might just be the one to save our planet. According to an article by MSNBC.com, Millennials: We care more about the environment, a poll commissioned by the Clinton Global imitative and Microsoft, found that 54 percent of millennials feel they’ll make a significant contribution to better the environment, while 57 percent believe they’ll actually worsen the earth’s condition in their lifetime.
We are bombarded by green consumerist propaganda everyday, but do we actually follow through with going green? I know, I try my best to recycle and purchase the environmentally friendly products, but what will truly make a difference? It starts with each individual and our government.
President Obama spoke at the U.N.’s Climate Summit and urged global leaders to answer the call for climate change.
And I address millennials to confront climate change and become activists, doing more than just posting and retweeting on social media. We are the generation that will fulfill what the green movement is all about: saving our mother earth for future generations.