With the universal adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the boldest-ever collective plan to change the world’s development path towards sustainability, it is imperative that young people become active players in shaping the future. Today’s young people will be the world’s decision makers, in business, politics and diplomacy, when we reach the 2030 deadline. Their ability to understand climate change and the power of human action in reversing the degradation of Earth’s ecosystems, will be key to the future of humanity.
As the theme of this year’s Earth Day is ‘Ending Plastic Pollution’, we call on young people to take action in their communities and cities to combat the harmful pollution of our ocean, which is already killing over 1 million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals, and countless other marine species every year according to UNESCO. The Ocean Action Hub, a platform launched by UNDP and Sweden to encourage citizen action towards the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal No. 14: Life Below Water, now has over 260,000 participants from all over the globe. An incredible 93 percent of the Hub’s members are between 13 and 17 years old. We count on their action to #SaveOurOcean.
In celebration of the Earth Day 2018, we are hosting an event with the Smithsonian Institution’s #EarthOptimism movement, which is dedicated to promoting inspiring, positive news about citizen action to protect nature and advance sustainable development all over the globe. You can participate online. The trend of climate fatalism can be reversed with more young people engaged in climate and ocean action. We wish an inspiring #EarthDay2018 with #EarthOptimism. Join us in this movement for the good!
About the authors
Andrew Hudson is head of the Water and Ocean Governance Programme in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support at UNDP. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @AHudsonUNDP
Nancy Knowlton is the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and Editor-in-Chief of the Ocean Portal. Follow the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Initiative on Twitter: @EarthOptimism