How Do the Leaders
at the World Congress
View the Role of Youth
in the Environment?

By Regina Flores, Amber Marsh and Patricia Kotovich, TG Magazine youth journalists

As youth present in a global conference we have the unique opportunity to explore our opinions of world leaders on the environmental interests and actions of youth around the globe. The youth response to environmental issues seems to depend on the cultural setting in which an individual is immersed and the priorities of that society.

Tenneco Boomsma of Belize says that youth in her country are not aware of environmental concerns. According to her, "survival is more important". The young people of Belize need first to address more immediate issues such as where their next meal will come from. However, Booms ma says "More and more environmental programs have started in the past several years". An outreach program which focuses on youth awareness of the global threats to the environment being developed.

Adan Budder of Jordan has a very optimistic perspective on the subject. The youth of Aquaba have organised underwater clean up events stretching from the Saudi border to Black rock in Aquaba.

In Egypt, Share El-Sheikh held a conference on environmental protection. There was a beach clean up and a series of other public awareness campaigns, all the product of youth involvement.

In Israel , over 1000 enthusiastic youth volunteers participated in numerous performances and other activities promoting and stressing the importance of the environment.

In Canada, students are at the forefront of environmental action largely due to the support from government leaders. The support of Environment Canada in the
presence and efforts of Canadian youth at this congress has been invaluable. Over 25 youth were sponsored for this important event. This is the kind of faith and encouragement youth around the world need to become involved.

In seeking the opinion of the delegates and participants, a range of opinions emerged, some of which were negative and seemed to perpetuate the stereotype of "unconcerned, careless kids". It is clear that traditionally youth have not been granted the opportunity to play a significant role in the decisions that affect their future and this is reflected in the attitude of many member delegates. However the youth participation in relevant affairs such as this congress, demonstrate that our role is expanding and gaining respect.