Youth and IPNB By Mandy Shewfelt

At GAINS we join with today’s youth and their vocal recognition of being the first generation to grow up living in the explicit reality of intense climate disruption. They are dealing with floods, the Arctic on fire, draughts, dangerous heat waves, intense weather disturbances, and a faster than expected warming climate. Species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate. Social and political issues are more complex. And the digital world has drastically reduced opportunities for the face to face relationships of depth and resonance that might resource, ready, and comfort those facing this future. With smartphone use, more youth are becoming affected by digital platforms infected by disconnection, bullying and disinformation. Many youth today are also aware of the attacks on democracy through the misuse of facebook and google (think Brexit, the US and Brazil elections, and the possible Dragonfly platform in China). 

Who could wonder why Youth today are increasingly anxious, depressed, and struggling to feel hopeful for their futures – especially in light of global warming. 

Please join us at GAINS in an ongoing conversation that inspires action, and which include stories of inspiring action, on all these issues, for all our futures. Let’s explore strategies that we can use to bring the powerful framework of IPNB forward to both inform and support young people today, as they navigate and work to solve the profound emergencies that our planet is facing. 

One example of a young person taking positive action that is inspiring millions across the planet is the activism of  Greta Thunberg (listen to her TEDx talk). Her Fridays for the Future movement is growing fast. Greta speaks the truth bravely with courage and respect. Her capacity to manage her emotions and stress is remarkable, as she speaks out to inspire and encourage action by youth and adults to radically reduce Greenhouse emissions. Her courage and tenacity to live in the truth is awesome. 

What makes Greta’s leadership even more meaningful is that it wasn’t an easy journey for her. At the age of eight, Greta learned about the reality of global warning, while also being confused that headlines weren’t sounding alarm bells calling for emergent and immediate action. People were not speaking enough about the climate emergency, and the changes governments had been promising for 30 years had not made a difference. At ten years old, Greta fell into a serious depression and stopped talking (listen to her TEDX talk to hear her speak about this). Now, her voice is moving multitudes. And, from now on, Incredible Greta will be using her voice, quietly and assertively mobilizing us through her courageous truth-telling and call for massive change – Now. 

We know Greta is not alone, we see that many Youth are rising up to speak for social justice, global responsibility, and the future of humanity. How can each of us, individually and collectively, support them? A very small offering: GAINS invites you to share stories of inspiration: Youth in action to better our world, (older folks too!), organizations and agencies living IPNB in action (whether they know it or not!). Please share stories generously, by emailing them to