August 12, 2021 is International Youth Day. This year’s theme is “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”. Sounds like a mouthful and complex, however, its objective is simple and on point with the United Nations’ efforts to meet their sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the call on youth to participate in trumpeting the message.
Food insecurity is a real threat, now and in the near future. Disruptions in natural environment, demonstrated by wild fires, droughts, receding rivers and lakes, and melting glaciers all point to how food production and agriculture in general can be negatively affected, not to mention the integrity and health of the earth and its life forms.
Populations should be able to grow sufficient, nutritious food supplies that will feed them to become healthy and prevent illnesses. Tomorrow’s world needs to be protected and the youth are being encouraged to highlight food system transformation for a healthy planet and healthy people in the future.
Youth are playing a role to change the downward trajectory of food security now and in future. Some are participating in round table discussions on solutions, while others are environmental activists, protesting climate change. By becoming champions of processes and policies that promote safe and sustainable food growing systems and the protection of our planet and its life forms, youth are setting in motion the wheels for a better tomorrow.
We can also throw in our support, by decreasing the amount of carbon footprints in our lifestyle habits. Let’s eat more plant-based diets, recycle, opt for reusable shopping bags and chance a car-free life.
The pandemic and its effect on youth mental health has generated several reports of adverse effects and increasing mental health problems in youth. It is important, however, to also recognize that youth are more resilient than we might think. It is their future and they are getting involved now to make their future brighter. Let's invest in our youth today for a better tomorrow.
Happy International Youth day!