International Youth Day 2021

International Youth Day 2021: The vital role of young workers in ensuring lasting change

August 12 is International Youth Day, an opportunity to recognize the voices, actions and initiatives of young people.

The UN’s theme for 2021 is “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.” It aims to highlight the major challenges in agriculture, including feeding a growing population, and addressing rural poverty.

To address these issues and build a better future, young workers must be included in the discussion at all levels of government. Consumption patterns that impact one’s personal health and that of the planet are instilled early in life.  This is why young workers are so vital to ensure lasting change.

The effect of climate change on vulnerable communities was already a major issue before COVID-19.   The pandemic continues to strain food systems, disrupting markets and supply chains for farmers around the world, threatening peace and stability particularly among the most marginalized populations.

It has also dramatically increased the number of people facing acute food insecurity. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that in 2021, 272 million people are already or are at risk of becoming acutely food-insecure in the countries where it operates. Acute food insecurity is defined as when a person’s life or livelihood is in immediate danger because of lack of food.

As the group who will inherit the legacy of climate change, youth already recognize and often address these dire health and climate issues.  They will inevitably inherit the earth and should be prioritized in such serious discussions – in Ontario and beyond.

They can also help to identify new and innovative solutions for better promotion of agriculture, sustainable value chains for the planet, and healthy lifestyles. Let’s give them the opportunity to make lasting change.

The Annual Young Workers Conference comes on the heels of International Youth Day.  Its theme is “Young Workers in the Post Pandemic World: How to Organize, Mobilize and Strategize using Digital Media.” It will prepare young workers for the challenging times ahead by providing a networking and brainstorming opportunity to create change within the Union and their communities. OPSEU/SEFPO’s Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC) is hosting this conference virtually on August 14.

Click here for more information on this event.

As always, be seen, be heard.

In Solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, OPSEU/SEFPO

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU/SEFPO

Joseanne Job
Chair, OPSEU/SEFPO Provincial Young Workers Committee