Inequality in the system and an apathetic youth?

In my last blog post, I mentioned that my generation is looking away from problems concerning the system we live in and just lives for the fun of today.

However, this also is a very naïve approach to what’s really going on. The main issue is that even though we may want to change the ongoing situation in which huge parts of the world population live in poverty, in which our planet is destroyed by massive amount of pollution of the rivers, the air, the woods, chemicals used for industry and other unacceptable disasters. I am sure there are many young people out there who are concerned about all this and want to see a modification. So, why does nobody seriously strive for it?

The question should rather be: how should we do that?

For an easy example, if you buy food in the stores you may be aware of genetically modified vegetables and try to avoid them. But even if you do so, who tells you the company did not just mix the modified ones with a certain percentage of biologically produced ones? If you need to buy new clothes, do you have to research upon every little label to reassure they were not produced by child labor? A few years ago, the brand ‘esprit’ who claimed to ban child labor from their clothing production was convicted to actually support it!

Being part of the society makes you be part of the culprits. How can we stop being integrated in that? Demonstrating seems to have little or no effect on politics as they will just continue doing what they want to do and at worst arrest those who harass “local peace”. If we really want to be consequent about making a change that affects the system, we would be forced to step out of it and organize resistance. Who tells you that this will be successful and in the end, you’ll not just lose your job? Life is not a video game, where you can play Robin Hood for those in need and fight those with power and money. After all, this will just make you be the bad guy and exclude you from your social environment, like family, friends, and neighbors.

Maybe we live in the wrong period of time. If it were the 70ies, where ideas of freedom and love circulated, it was much easier to respond to ideologies and be part of a social movement. Nowadays, as nothing is more important than efficiency and success, it is much harder to speak up.

So what can we do about it? The most common answer is to keep things personal. We make an effort to consume consciously and make a change little by little. Protecting individual bodies by purchasing products isn’t likely to transform us into environmental activists, yet it does make a change in our live.

To peg people who actually do something with people who do not have care in the world as ignorant seems to me to be conceited. We are surrounded by helping organizations for the third world, we see so many allegedly organic food, and we think we do the right thing until we realize that we shouldn’t have judged this company for its environmental friendly cover. In the end, we cannot see the wood for the trees and end up querulous.

A change does not necessarily begin from top down. A bottom-up one, where more and more people change little by little is a good start. If we get the majority of the population of rich countries to do so, the system might eventually modify itself without a revolution.

by Julia Semineth

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