Susty Stories

Young People and Environmental Responsibility

Yesterday, I hosted a webinar on Young People and Environmental Responsibility with the Commonwealth Youth Council and Educoders, it was the first time I was ever going to host a webinar, I'm usually nervous just listening into live webinars to start with.

To ask me to write on  Young People and the way they are responding to environmental issues (in Nigeria) is to actually put me “in my zones”, this is what we are doing right now with SustyVibes; the learning journey has been simply amazing and I will share some of the things I am personally learning.

Young People are so full of energy
For every project or event that we decide to embark on, energy even before passion has driven it – people have talked about how energetic I am (I really think I’m a lazy person because, fat girl problems) and I often see this energy in our SustyVibers and volunteers who come out for our events.

Young people have the energy needed to drive environmental advocacy – it is important that these energies are channeled into meaningful projects that can ultimately advance the sustainable development agenda.

Young People just want to have fun 
Contrary to what you may think, there’s a certain affinity that comes with millennials and having fun – now fun is relatable for various people and that is why this point might be arguable, but we know that doing good for the planet is fun, it comes with a certain form of excitement knowing that you have done some good for a destroying planet and that one action can inspire even more people to do good. It is therefore important that young people find NGOs or organizations that incorporate fun to their sustainability work.

Becoming a more sustainable person starts from you
I often wonder if the people we engage with go back home and start leading sustainable lifestyles? Have they explored recycling? Are they staring down on pollution? Switching off light bulbs in empty rooms and exploring greener alternatives to the products they use? As young people – we are big influencers of the society whether we know it or not, we dictate what kind of music should sell, fashion and what is even popular on social media, this means that if we begin to embrace sustainable lifestyles in our personal walks; we’ll be going a long way in getting even other young people to become environmentally responsible.

Parents have a huge role to play
Environmental Responsibility like charity, good manners and begin at home; parents should be able to teach their children lessons on environmental protection, like good management of resources – water, electricity and money. If more parents did this and were also practical in their own action; we’ll have young people aligned with a behaviour that condemns environmental irresponsibility.

We need to stop underestimating young professionals when it comes to Sustainability
Because Sustainability is such a buzz-word right now, it is hard to say that young professionals who have to work with the internet daily have not come across the word; while they may not understand the concept fully; they are no foreigners to the word and can easily adapt to sustainable lifestyles because it saves them money in the long run and like the entrepreneur or random cool kid, they want to be part of a movement that is getting too hot to handle.

I personally have decided to dedicate a whole career into getting young people in sync with sustainability and by young people; I mean children, teenagers and young adults. It is important that we continue to raise awareness on the importance of a clean environment as there is no planet B.

Jennifer Uchendu

Jennifer Uchendu

Founder, SustyVibes
Nigerian Ecofeminist passionate about sustainable development. You would often find me talking about African women and how their development will save Africa.