The Issues Young Australians Are Most Passionate About
Aug. 12 marks International Youth Day, established by the United Nations in 1999.
International Youth Day occurs every year on Aug. 12 to celebrate the voice of young people and acknowledge the issues they care about. Since its establishment in 1999, the world has made a concerted effort to embrace the voice of young men and women and accept that young people are agents of change and essential players in ensuing peace.
This year, Global Citizen took to the streets of Melbourne to ask a few young Aussies to share with us the issues that are currently on their minds.
“I care about refugees ... I’d like them to be taken care of in some way or another, whether it means getting into the country or just better facilities. I’m not sure exactly how detention centres operate, but I just know we need to make life better for refugees. I get it — it’s a very complicated issue. I used to live in the Middle East, so I've heard heaps about it already, and I get the flak, but it would just be nice if those seeking asylum were treated in a human way.”
“I care about homelessness. When you walk around the city there are a lot of homeless people around. Especially when the weather gets cold, it can be really bad for them. I would like people to help them, to at least help them get warm in the winter. It would be fantastic to see more initiatives in place that could help feed people and get them warm.”
“I am pretty passionate about resource allocation. What I mean by that is that I am a vegetarian, and it’s a very effective way to direct resources to where they need to go. The meat industry is ridiculous when you look at how much food and water is wasted and the greenhouse gas emissions the industry produces. So that is a massive issue that I take personally and where I try and enact change.
“I also think sexism is huge. Whenever I hear things in public that are quite misogynistic or sexist, I try and stand up and call people out on it."
“I am a student who moved to Australia to do my masters. I am in the accounting industry. It is really hard to get a visa here. Most of the students who come over here are looking for a permanent stay. Nowadays it's really hard to get a permanent residency. This is one of the main issues as a younger person that I am facing. The whole process needs to be more lenient. I would love to get work here in Australia, but employers will only be asking one thing: Are you a resident or a citizen? So that matters.”
“I guess I am passionate about the environment, particularly renewable energy. I understand that it necessarily can’t all be created by renewable energy, but I would like to see a larger portion of our energy from renewables. We just don't need to rely so heavily on fossil fuels. We are eventually going to run out of fossil fuels and it just pollutes the environment.”
“I care a lot about climate change and protecting the environment because I study environmental science. I feel that way more needs to be done to educate young people and let them know that it isn't just nature that is damaged due to the effects of climate change; human lives are also threatened. I think climate change is really an issue that we have to deal with. But it's not just climate change. I also think about pollution in the environment and in the ocean and antibiotic resistance — basically anything that is an environmental problem. I still meet people every day who say that climate change is not real and that it is just a lie from the government.”
Whether it's homelessness, climate change, or the treatment of refugees, young Australians want their voices heard and for change to occur. This International Youth Day, let's shine a light on the challenges that the Australian youth of today are facing and join together to find respective solutions.