So let’s start off by tackling that age-old question, shall we? “What can I do to start changing things?” It is probably followed by, “Can I even change things?” And then it goes downhill from there.
“I’m just too young.”
“Why should it even matter? It’s not like this will affect me.”
“Why worry about this when I know someone else will have it covered?”
Chances are that you’ve thought along those lines recently. Maybe it was this morning when you skimmed through the headlines of your favorite newspaper. Or maybe it was when you accidentally clicked on that link that turned out to be just another donation site. Or perhaps you’re thinking these thoughts now. It doesn’t matter. I have these same thoughts too.
If we check the news, we are bombarded by atrocity after atrocity after human rights violation to the point that it seems like an insurmountable task to even attempt to alleviate any suffering. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but that’s where we’ve got it all wrong. Because not only can we alleviate suffering, young adults can literally change the world. For the next few weeks, we will be looking at the various ways young adults can become socially conscious activists. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Without further ado, here’s the first way.
By Striving to Become as Well Informed as Possible
Check out this graph from Statista for a second. What do you notice?
That’s right. Out of the top ten followed Twitter accounts, seven are celebrities. With the exception of Barack Obama, Twitter’s primarily young demographic would rather follow a celebrity account like Justin Bieber’s than follow a hard-hitting news feed like the New York Times. Here’s some food for thought. The amount of followers the New York Times and CNN have combined still would not equal Katy Perry’s 61.5 million strong fan base on Twitter. So, what does that tell us?
More and more teens are forsaking keeping up with current events and instead turning to alternative types of media that entertains them.
This practice remains inherently flawed, as young adults cannot afford to willingly ignore the news or choose to rely on others to process their information for them. Understandably, it can become wearisome to constantly come to grips with injustice, and many would prefer to turn a blind eye instead. Yet, the simple fact remains; You can’t change the world if you don’t know what is going on in the world to change.
The Charlie Hebdo attacks in France and the mass killings in third world countries make us cringe and close the page. Even issues closer to home like police brutality, and how a woman still makes 77 cents for every dollar a man makes upsets us, but not enough to inspire us to change these injustices. None of these issues are easy or pleasant to face, but it is our fundamental duty as citizens of a free world to combat these issues regardless of age.
And additionally, young people are in the best position to facilitate change. Whether it is our fearless attitudes, our confidence that borders on arrogant or our natural knowledge of technology, our generation has all the keys to become a generation of powerful activists and game changers.
So here is my challenge to you.
To start to change the world, you must first be as informed as possible. Therefore, after finishing (and hopefully sharing) this article, head over to Twitter and follow one news account of your choice and one account advocating for human rights. It may not sound like much, but this will give you a basic platform that you can utilize to stay informed on key issues. Then, for one whole week, make a commitment to either check or read a news-source at least once a day. This may seem tedious at first, but by regularly checking the news you will have both made yourself a better person and begun to establish a subtle lifestyle change that will last much longer than a week.
Perhaps I am preaching to the choir here, but perhaps I am not. Let me know in the comments section whether you’ve decided to undertake this challenge and how it’s worked out for you. Or, tell me if you already do the actions I just described.
If you want to learn more about why young change is the best change, click here.
Next article, let’s discover the second crucial way that young people can become socially conscious activists.
P.S- Here are some of my personal favorites to get you started.
Sam Gorman- Founder of Youngchange-Bestchange