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Be a leader today

Today, on August 12, 2016 we celebrate International Youth Day. A day that draws focus to the road to 2030 – Eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable consumption and production.

The UN believes the key to ensuring poverty eradication lies in achieving sustainable development through sustainable consumption and production. Sustainability is an idea that gets tossed around a lot. It is a complex concept, and therefore can be difficult to define. The most oft quoted definition originates from UN Bruntland commission: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

In layman’s turns? Be compassionate. To yourself. To others. To the earth. Take what you need, be willing to share, and always, always give back.

In his statement about International Youth Day, the Prime Minister has stated that: “Youth issues are everyone’s issues and youth should have a voice in decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives.”

You cannot sit around hoping to become your best self– you must be working toward it every day. This century is known as the age of information for a good reason. We have more information at our fingertips than any generations previous. However, knowledge is useless without critical thought.

So what are you going to do with your knowledge?

Over 500 000 Canadian youth have taken The Duke of Ed’s challenge to become their best self. Our vision is to inspire and promote lifelong improvement for all young Canadians by encouraging personal development and achievement. We believe in you. Now, take that extra step and believe in yourself.

Your youth is a symbol of hope. You are fresh – wide eyed and filled with new ideas. You have the opportunity to inspire those who have forgotten how to dream, and have forgotten the possibilities of hope. Your youth is filled with resilience and forging dreams in the face of adversary. Your future will be filled with obstacles, so hold on to that determination that leads you to persevere. Your success is powered through belief. Belief that your best self is enough. You are enough to lead the world with new ideas and innovations.

You have the opportunity to remind older generations of the opportunities that come with innovative and creative thinking. Your unique perspectives remind parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles that change is a blessing. With change comes the potential for renewal, and for rebirth.

If we want to create a sustainable and equitable global society, (there is no denying the fact that the internet has created a culture that transcends nations) we need to change. We need to change living practices, change our perspectives, and ultimately change our habits and patterns of behaviour as humans. We need to move away from a society of waste and greed, to a society of abundant creation. That is going to take a collective conscious effort. But, as the advent of social media has proved – the power of the collective mind is fierce, and it can be harnessed. So, let us harness it for good.

We must have the foresight and understanding that we may have our whole lives ahead of us, but, the choices we make today will affect all of our future tomorrows.