Change starts here and now

As the three youth editors, Andrew (Chucky) Bartolo, Saba Loftus and Karuna Rana, say: ‘We all have a responsibility to implement sustainable solutions … we can no longer wait for someone else to fix things. The time for action is now. Don’t wait until it is too late to make a difference! Change has to start with each of us.’

Building on UNEP’s flagship Global Environment Outlook 5 (GEO5) (www.unep.org/GEo/geo5.asp), GEO for Youth (www.unep.org/tunza) has been developed as a resource for young people everywhere. It fills the reader in on the state of the world’s environment, and explains current thinking on where overall trends are likely to take us.

But GEO for Youth isn’t just another publication suggesting we are on the road to ruin. It is a positive document that presents a plethora of examples from around the world showing how we can all get involved and change things – starting in our own communities.

GEO for Youth is easy to assimilate and act on. It is presented in three main sections that inform, entice and inspire.

1. Our World and its Challenges Today reports on where we are and provides case studies highlighting successful action from around the world – encouraging  you to create your own success stories.

2. The Future We Want explores the process and impact of Rio+20 from a youth perspective. As 25-year-old Aashish from India explains: ‘We are all in this together; it’s not just for policy wonks, super scientific or nerdy types. We all must, we all should and we all need to keep working on creating a world that enhances our well-being and respects the finite nature of our planet. And we can all do this right now.’

3. Change Countdown introduces key concepts like the green economy and education for sustainable development. It also introduces One-One, UNEP’s invitation to you to make one change that takes a specific unit of time. So, what can you do in just one second, minute, hour or week to create change?

GEO for Youth challenges young people to get active, make the world one in which you want to live and one in which you want to participate by:

• reaching out and sharing information. Sufficient information on the current environmental crisis and possible solutions is easily available. But not everyone has access to it, and billions of people don’t see why they should care … it’s up to all of us to say something and raise awareness – no one else is going to do it if you don’t.

• convincing people to move towards sustainable development. How do we convince individuals, organizations and governments to make sound choices to ensure a sustainable future for us all?

• bringing about behavioural change. Once we have convinced people of the ideas, how do we ensure that words are converted into action? Science, technological innovations and policies alone will not save us; changing behaviour is just as vital, even though it takes more effort.

So, dive in, get informed, be inspired, and use GEO for Youth with your friends, your family, your school, your organization and even your governments.

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This post is also available in: French, Spanish, Arabic