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Youth Apathy – What can you do?

“Apathy; lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.” The world we, as youth, live in today is becoming an increasingly self-centred and isolationist world, where often all that matters to the individual is how their actions can benefit themselves and their immediate community. If something doesn’t directly impact a person’s way of life and how they go about their daily business, the general response of the masses is “Why bother? It doesn’t impact me so why care?”

But we cannot afford to be bystanders as the world in which we live changes a bit more every day. Every day government and organizations are shaping and changing what it means to be a teenager in 2015 and beyond. As the generation of the future, we cannot let the world slip through our fingers, then look back and wonder how we got to where we end up. The world is full of problems, from international terrorism, to global warming, and to the new stadium that your favourite football team so badly needs. And a lot of these problems actually have solutions. But we cannot solve problems we don’t work towards.

In a world that seems to be getting smaller and smaller, as transportation and communication capabilities increase, why are we so isolated from all the things going on around us? Applications bring us closer to our friends, family, events, news and so much more, yet people don’t seem to know what is going on in the world around them. Today I walked into a young man, 14 years old and asked him what New Zealand (my native country) should do to aid the huge number of refugees in the world. To which he responded,
“Refugees from what?”
“Have you ever heard of ISIS?”
“No what is that?”

These three line dialogue outline a critical problem in our society; that we are often completely apathetic to the suffering and struggles of others, to the things happening around us outside of our field of view. With such access to materials and resources at our fingertips (literally), how is that still many people don’t know what the world outside is like? And I’m not saying that everyone is like this, not knowing what is going on outside their bubble, but let me ask you this: If you know about the refugee crisis in Europe, is there anything you have done?

Youth are often stereotyped as not having any interests whatsoever in politics, and this is often true. When a reporter asked a few youth their opinion on politics, this is what they said:

“All I see are rich, old, white men. I am none of these things,” says 20-year-old Steph. “The word ‘politics’ makes me think of stuffy white men in an outdated institution – and people who don’t relate to me in any way,” says 19-year-old Edward.”

But they do! They do relate to you! These stuffy men (which you can help choose) are making decision for you! For your country! Shouldn’t you want them to be making the best possible decisions? We need to be actively engaged in the world around us. Though politics may not appeal to everyone, it is what runs our everyday life. We need to know the needs of our countries and our communities and decide for ourselves who we think can best implement these needs. If you feel that something needs to be changed, work towards changing it! Don’t just expect it to change!

And it’s not just politics; youth do have a voice in the world. And we CAN work towards making it a better place. And there are many organizations and groups that empower you, as youth around the world, to make a difference, to engineer change where it is needed. One such organization is the one who’s website you are one right now, the World Youth Organization, a global organization to empower, encourage and inspire youth, to work together, be involved and have a voice.

So I would like to ask you all today, look around in your community, see what you can do. Read the news, see what is going on the world around you. Look over all the amazing things on the World Youth Organization website and see if you can participate and be involved with any of the things they are doing. And lastly, I want to leave you all with a quote:

“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.”

I hope you enjoyed my article; this is the first of (hopefully) many I’ll be doing for the World Youth Organization. If you have any comments please do let me know below! Also a special thank you to Kieran (and the rest of the WYO team) for giving me this chance to be able to blog for WYO, it’s something I’m really proud of and enjoy doing!

Follow me on Twitter: @ItsJarrichWYO

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