By Chloé Johnston
“Climate change is here. From the wildfires in California to the Hurricanes in the Gulf, hundreds of communities in America are already being displaced by the effects of our changing climate.” As a member of the Generation Roundtable Steering Committee, Chairperson of Seek Common Ground and Fellow at National Geographic, Andrew Brennan hopes to use this opportunity to “shine a light on the youth researchers, storytellers, and organizers who are on the front lines addressing our community’s most pressing problems.”
“I hope to demonstrate that young people are not just the future but that we are stepping up to lead in our communities right now.”
The unprecedented challenges our world is facing, a climate emergency, a refugee crisis, and a global pandemic, to name a few, may take on different forms, but all of them require the same solution. Brennan cites the “passion, creativity, and urgency that young people bring to the table” as pivotal to the solution-making process.
In 1966, during a speech to students in Cape Town, South Africa, Bobby Kennedy described a phenomenon that he argued could “sweep down the mightiest walls of resistance and oppression.” Kennedy argued that young people, full of hope, working together to “improve the lot of others,” are a powerful force for change. “I agree.”
Globally, young people make up about 50% of the world’s population, “but about 80% of the world’s best ideas,” according to Brennan. “Our generation has the ingenuity, creativity, and diversity to finally come together and end the cycle of inaction.” This is our last chance.
The three issues the Steering Committee focuses on–Environment, Democracy, and Economy–are at the core of some of the most contentious political debates in the United States.
Having fought for education justice in his home state of Kentucky for the better part of a decade, Brennan has experienced first hand the value of working across the political aisle to achieve lasting change. Brennan believes that the example of “young people across ideologies coming together to conduct research and propose solutions to these three issues demonstrates what’s possible to our fellow citizens everywhere.”
For more information about the Generation Roundtable, and it’s Steering Committee members, read our previous blog about “A Vision for Better Politics.”
About the Author
Chloé Johnston is the Counterweight Editor and Graphic Designer for the BridgeUSA National Team. She more recently graduated from Oregon State University with her Honors Bachelor of Science in Psychology. In her free time, she freelances and writes for her blog, The Extroverted Introvert.