Why do I ask this question? I want to ask where we are in this crisis and trying times? How do you make sense of what is going on around you? And what did you do? Before the COVID-19 came and the community quarantine implementation, what were you doing? Was there a change in your life amid the enhanced community quarantine? I imagine that you told yourself that you need to do something to help out no matter how small is the effort.
It was mid-March 2020 when the government imposed the community quarantine to fight the novel coronavirus that causes the disease named COVID-19. We faced different issues and hindrances, and different hashtags emerged.
As a youth, we need to be responsible individuals in making our actions match our words. Do not let fear immobilize you and prevent you to do something. People have different perspectives and mindsets. We cannot easily please everyone. We cannot make them like what we are doing. Focus, improve, and collaborate with others until you make impacts on the initiatives and efforts that you want to do.
In these trying times, I realized that innovation does not necessarily mean programming works. We must utilize our social media accounts to extend help to the people in our community either by creating a solution by ourselves or by crowdsourcing for those who can. Let us all adopt technology and use it wisely because this is the power of youth nowadays. With the access that we have, we must be more creative and imaginative. Do not be afraid to share our opinions with everyone because the youth have the right to voice out our opinion. Let us pursue our idea and curiosity as these lead us to have potential in different things. Sharing and providing relevant, timely, correct, and verified information can move and change the entire mindset of people and a wider perspective of society. I will make sure that the knowledge I have acquired will not just stay in my mind but is put into practice. With the technology that we have nowadays, we need to know how to use it effectively. Let us not abuse it by misusing the information that is accessible to us. We should still check the facts well to ensure that what we share is credible enough.
Today is a great opportunity for us to reflect. Let us understand our situation and contribute to the solutions. Listen to the deafening silence. Be the voice of the voiceless. Start with a small thing. Discover your talent and use it in a good way. Find someone to work with, connect, and collaborate. As the most accessible tool to connect with others, let us give at least an hour to utilize it in spreading positive thoughts, reliable information, and supporting a group of people working with the community. Practice volunteerism and raise funds. Let us demand and work for positive change and start it within the self. Contemplate on today’s situation to prepare for the future. Then, influence and work with others, irrespective of their beliefs, race, and color. Give value to unity amidst diversity.
We must change our lifestyle for the good of our environment, and protect our mother earth. This pandemic has something to do with human activities. Let us start to promote zero-waste lifestyles. Start small, like using a metal straw or bamboo straw, organic and eco-friendly products, and patronizing the local enterprises. We must be responsible and pro-active advocates. As Asians, we should uphold and protect the environment. If we care for Mother Nature, in turn, Mother Nature will take care of us. Being mindful of our people’s practices is important in being an Active Citizen too. We can only affect positive change around us if we change ourselves. Today’s issues and concerns reminded me that we should always walk the talk. I ask myself how to make use of my knowledge on many things, and how will I integrate these in helping the communities practice environmental conservation and innovation. I realized the importance of collaboration, strategic planning, and creativity in making a solution. We should innovate and utilize our resources to help our fellow human beings. If you want to see a change within society, you have to be an active citizen.
As a youth, I can try different ways to help our country. I have to identify what to do and how to share it with others. This pandemic crisis has given me a chance to think about my passion and skills. I will develop it as an instrument or a way to help out others. I learned that failure is normal. It is okay to struggle and be discouraged sometimes, as long as we are willing to get up and face tomorrow with heads held up high. Our voices may not be heard amidst the noise everywhere, but if we truly believe that our message has power then we shouldn’t fret. Our voices will be heard because there would always be people who will support our advocacy.
Do not be scared of using social media and other platforms in speaking up and raising people’s awareness. The pandemic should not keep us from working for environmental protection. We can always start in our homes now, not tomorrow. This is the starting point for our larger goals of action for a larger scale in the future.
Be an inspiration. Learn how to lead. Be an environmental advocate. Learn from past experiences. These summarize all that I have realized in today’s crisis. As a youth, we need to showcase all our ideas to inspire and influence others. We use both our voices and our traditional wisdom and practices to share our views, networking, support the different advocacies of civil society and use innovative technology to implement programs in this state of the “new normal.”
So, this is where we are now. We may have different standards in life but we can find our commonalities. The youth is the hope and future of our nation. We should use this honor given to us. Nasser Midsapak Matula, Peace Institute 2