“Humanity depends on the boundless energy, ideas and contributions of youth everywhere. Today and every day, let’s support and stand with young people in shaping a just and sustainable world, for people and the planet.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The theme for this year’s International Youth Day is “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World.” This day serves to establish youth as important stakeholders in the global community and bring to attention issues that impact them.

Green skills, as defined by UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) , are the knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes needed to live in, develop, and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society.

Creating a sustainable future is the only way forward; given the number of environmental issues and challenges that we are facing at present, it is no longer something that we can put off any longer. Climate change is being faced by every country and has already shown its devastating impact in real time.

Green skills and a green economy are the revolutions required in the coming years. Adapting and changing are becoming inevitable to protect ourselves from climate change impact.

United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development has instituted a Green Skills Agreement that addresses the goals and changes required for sustainable development. 

The Australian Green Skills Agreement (2009) aims to enhance the vocational education and training (VET) sector’s capacity to impart sustainability skills in the workplace. It also enables individuals, businesses, and communities to thrive in a sustainable, low-carbon economy. It helps prepare young people for green jobs that contribute to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment to improve overall well-being and social equity.

What is a ‘green job’? A ‘green job’ is employment in any industry that contributes to preserving or restoring environmental quality in that sector and allowing for sustainable development. It includes jobs that help protect ecosystems and biodiversity and reduce energy, materials and water consumption through high efficiency strategies. Green jobs can be in any sector, such as agriculture, manufacturing, research and development activities, etc. They can bring about the much needed transition from high carbon to low carbon economy by promoting environment friendly technologies. 

Along with all these initiatives, our consumer habits need to be looked into. Green Consumer Day is celebrated on September 28 of each year, to highlight and bring awareness on how small actions can help earth remain green and clean. ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ should become a norm and not the exception. 

With the goal to empower youth with sustainable skills, we must also look at our own culture and traditional practices. Often, we neglect our traditional ways of life while trying to achieve sustainability goals. Our ancestors were more eco-friendly and attuned to nature, often forgotten as we pursue sustainability goals. Documenting and adopting traditional practices applicable to modern times is essential.

Now is the time to look at how we can make our lifestyle more sustainable and practical to blend the best of both worlds. We must ensure that, as youth, we do our part to make this happen and embrace the challenges by committing to sustainable practices.