Millennials – a caring generation who can help to ensure a more equal future

A World at School

Millennials protest about education in the USA Picture: Jason

During the 70th annual United Nations General Assembly, the UN adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – 17 goals that focus on a range of issues from gender equality and education to environmental sustainability and health.

Aimed at making up what the Millennium Development Goals left out, governments, NGOs and businesses will focus on achieving the SDGs in the next 15 years. Adding their voices and efforts for the first time will be the Millennials, aged 18 to 35.

Millennials are constantly being boxed into various categories – we are seen as impatient and aloof, yet solution-oriented and politically active. While some claim we are politically disillusioned, a report by Politico found that there has been an increase in young American voter turnout in the last couple of elections.

And who can forget the youth-led protests in the past couple of years? From the Occupy movement to the Arab Spring, youth are taking charge of the political discourse in their countries.

Yes, we may be using our phones for “selfies” and pictures of food – but we are also using them as platforms to speak out against unjust systems and connect with one another to inspire change.

Thanks to improved technology, travel has become more affordable, allowing us to be better travelled than previous generations. More and more youth from the Global North between the ages of 18 and 34 are travelling around the world, often seeking experiences outside of typical “tourist traps”.

We want to experience life in remote areas and are increasingly looking for more meaningful travel. Travel can be the catalyst to join an NGO or create a non-profit.

Alexander McLean, right, in an African prison Picture:

Take Alexander McLean – a British citizen who at the age of 18 volunteered at a hospital in Uganda. Seeing the treatment of Ugandan prisoners, Alex began the African Prisons Project, to provide better opportunities for the marginalised in society.

While an incredible story, it isn’t unique; similar stories can be found in Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 report. We are a generation that cares.

But what does this all mean?

All these characteristics place us in a better position to take on the SDGs. With a greater number of us seeking higher education, many who are the first in our families to do so, we understand the importance of education and the opportunities it can bring.

With a greater number of women entering the workforce and taking charge of their own lives, we understand the struggle for gender equality and the need for equal opportunities.

With greater evidence of climate change and depleting natural resources, we understand the importance of environmental sustainability and the need to be eco-friendly.

For these reasons we are better prepared for the SDGs than the previous generations. Ready or not, we’ve been brought to the stage to ensure a more stable and equal future for the generations to come.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will be the defining moment for Millennials.

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