Young people, fight and do not lose hope!
An opinion of OH, a young lawyer known to the editorial staff.
I’m 30 years old and, dammit, the future scares me. I still want to believe it.
My generation and those who follow it inherit a scary world. For years, she has observed helplessly that the fight against climate change is not moving forward and that the economy in its current functioning perpetually reproduces social inequalities. She notes that a large part of the prosperity of the twentieth century was built by mortgaging that of future generations.
Today, these generations are asked to make an important new sacrifice. They are being asked to accept growing public debt and a new recession for years to come. But above all, they are asked to give up their social contacts. They are asked to stop having plans for the future with other people for a cruelly indefinite period. We ask them to stop all the activities which are however fundamental to the youth in order to build themselves. All this at the inestimable cost of their sanity.
Because if the measures taken in the context of the health crisis are based on a balance between, on the one hand, the cost linked to the disease itself, and on the other hand, the cost linked to restrictive measures, it is relatively easy to encrypt the first and impossible to encrypt the second. We know with a certain level of accuracy how many people die or suffer from Covid-19, but no one is able to give figures that are likely to come close to reality when it comes to the damage caused by the loss of hope, confidence, future opportunities …
It is therefore a bias to say that the current measures are necessary and that there is no alternative. In fact, whether it is an ecological, economic or health crisis, another future is possible. One that will ensure a less gloomy future for young people.
Our generations will of course have to sweep in front of their doors if they wish to build a secure and sustainable future for the decades to come. Youth political participation is extremely low. In doing so, they everywhere allow decisions to be taken that go completely against their interests. It will be difficult to be heard. “What are they complaining about”, “We didn’t have smartphones at the time”, “They just want to party”, “They didn’t know war”, etc. These are all ways of brushing aside the legitimate demands that the voices of young people be heard and that political decisions take into account the enormous damage caused to a youth who already inherits a heavy burden to bear.
Moreover, since our earliest childhood we have been educated to become (over) consumers. We cannot build a sustainable future if we do not distance ourselves from certain material trivialities. Instagram or not, you will have to give up buying a new phone every year. You will have to give up taking selfies in Machu Picchu, New York or Bali every year. You will have to give up skiing every year, etc. You will have to constantly accept to review your habits. Despite appearances, consumption does not benefit us but a handful of the ultra-rich.
So here is my heartfelt cry to all who are my age or younger: fight and do not lose hope. Continue to believe in a sustainable, secure and happy future. This future is possible despite everything that may make you think otherwise. But it is only possible if you struggle to build it. Speak up and don’t listen to those who tell you there is no alternative.