Youth Movements to Protect Life

Bharat Dogra

In various parts of world youth movements have played an important role in fighting corruption and protecting democracy. These are big things. But now they have to prepare for an even bigger and even more noble role, a role which the present day world needs more than anything else. This is the role to protect life, to protect human life and all forms of life, to protect the very life-nurturing conditions of planet earth.

The children, teenagers and young adults of our world certainly did not create these problems. But youths now have a big responsibility to contribute a very important part of the solution. And the children must imbibe the learnings from a very early age which will prepare them for this protective role. The youth also have an important role in this learning of children from an early age.

The fact that the present generation, and the previous ones, failed to take adequate steps to check the most critical problems has led today to very serious life-threatening problems like rapidly escalating climate change and accumulation of nearly 15000 nuclear weapons. This is certainly a big failure of the present generation and the previous generation. Nevertheless, not all elderly people today should be blamed for this. Several of them tried in their limited ways to create a safer and better world. There were others who were well-intentioned but simply got carried away by the dominant trend of their times which was oriented towards GNP and consumerism. Still they have experience and knowledge which could have been better used and still can be put to better use. In poorer communities many old people have the experience which will be useful for future.

Our aim should be to use the potential of all people to create a better and safer world. It is best to avoid a complaining hostile attitude. We should learn from past mistakes so that we do not go on repeating them.

We are talking here of the potential of the young taking the lead to create a safer and better world and to protect the life-nurturing conditions of planet earth. However sometimes I hear parents complaining that the younger generation is even more consumerist then them. But who created the overall culture of consumerism to which the new generation was exposed from early childhood? Who created a highly unequal and unjust world and the value system to support such a world?

But it would be self-defeating to respond to complaints with counter complaints. There is no time and space for this. The way forward is to understand the seriousness of the present-day life threatening crisis and work with unity to resolve this before it is too late.

The enormity of the tasks ahead should not be seen by the youth as necessarily a big burden. When we make a big effort together with cooperation to meet big challenges, we can find very creative ways. This gives us a lot of happiness. This gives a great purpose to our life. Once this happens, there is hardly any room for alienation, depression, loneliness and substance abuse.

It is important to improve social relationships at all levels - family, community, school, college. Closer and much more stable relationships provide strength and coverage to our efforts and while working very hard for a noble cause we can also be very happy together. So improving social relationships and working together in very creative ways is a necessary part of the youth movements to protect life.

There is so much to do that everyone can find their own areas of special interest and creativity to work in. But there should be a larger effort to strengthen commitment to the basic framework of justice, equality, peace, democracy, protection of environment and all forms of life. Within, this framework, the main focus, the cutting edge should be to resolve the life-threatening problems well within the time   limits available to humanity.

The immediate aim of youth movements should be to press for effective solution to life-threatening problems and create such a public opinion in their favour that world leadership has to take decisions along these lines. Also members of this movement who distinguish themselves with their hard work, deep commitment and exceptional capability should be able to take up world leadership roles themselves.

Vol. 51, No. 50, Jun 16 - 22, 2019