Half of the world´s population is under 20 years old. It is the young people of the planet – their resilience and positive power for a change – who are the vital future decision makers and responsibility holders. NextGen, the youth movement of GEN, has created educational and action tools to empower the youth of the villages – and to make them aware of alternatives to the current destructive power of globalization. In Thailand, Japan, Ladakh, Bangladesh and Australia, NextGEN has connected with networks and established activities to support young people in their visions and concerns as well as their power to make a change. At the same time NextGEN is building bridges between the youth generations, the traditional value holders, and the spirit of the existing villages.
NextGEN Japan expresses the vision of the youth
Two years ago, in March 2011, a tsunami led to the nuclear disaster of Fukushima. It was a wake-up call for the whole world to find ways of life that lead to harmony with nature rather than to disasters.
One of the leading places for alternative lifestyle in Japan is the Konohana Family, a highly self-sufficient Ecovillage. Konohana hosted the “Youth Vision Summit”, organized by NextGEN Japan in May 2012, where young people gathered to discuss and share visions for an ideal future.
Different events organized at the summit shared with visitors the Ecovillage values that are practised in the Konohana family.
NextGEN Japan plans to organize “Vision Summits” several times a year and spread information about Ecovillage values and concepts.
NextGEN Thailand has organized a campaign to raise awareness on Climate Change in schools in NongKhai province from January – March 2013. They have formed NextGEN groups in Schools and are collaborating with schools in providing education for sustainability for students.
The NextGEN Empowerment Programme aims to empower the youth by encouraging them to realize their strength, beauty and intrinsic value as human beings. It includes education for basic understanding on the 4 keys: Social, Worldview, Economic and Ecology (Permaculture) as an introduction to the Ecovillage Design Education.
A three day NextGEN Empowerment workshop will be conducted in Chiangmai Province, northern Thailand, in April 2013, for 20 village youth. NextGEN members will provide a follow-up programme and support for the youth following the workshop, in collaboration with their local elders. More.
NextGEN Australia is preparing to provide a network for the younger generations who are living or want to live within Ecovillage! Shane Schmidt, the current representative, is passionate about the Ecovillage movement in Australia and has experienced many communities internationally and within his country.
NextGEN Bangladesh is coming!
On 13th-14th December, 2012, at the Bangladesh Association for Sustainable Development training centre in north Banishanta, 34 youth participated in a NextGEN Empowerment Workshop, to raise awareness for the NextGEN movement in Bangladesh. The participants went through 7 steps including the introduction of NextGEN and community building among youth, gratitude, appreciation and positivity. The youth were guided to look positively upon themselves, their village or town, their country, and the planet, in order to build a sense of gratitude and appreciation.
At the same time, they were encouraged to share the concerns that they have for their village, country and the Earth, and guided to envision their village as an ecovillage.
This was followed by developing action plans, networking and widening the networking movement.
At the end of the workshop the youth formed 4 smaller groups, made up of participants that come from the same village, in order to present their action plans that they are strongly committed to. They also have a plan to organize and manage the network among themselves, and proposed a representative to join NextGEN GENOA network.
NextGEN Sri Lanka is a wide opportunity!
NextGEN Sri Lanka is a new member of NextGEN GENOA but is already becoming very active. In 2013, NextGEN Sri Lanka intends to strengthen the network through a process of designing strategies and activities to further encourage the movement.
In order to nurture the NextGEN movement, collaboration and networking with grassroots organisations in Sri Lanka, whose work is concerned young generation issues, is really important. There are a few exciting initiatives being coordinated by NextGen Sri Lanka for 2013, that will engage youth and support them to be stewards of the Earth.
Another Activity: Paapedi 2013 – A bicycle journey for climate justice
From 13 – 24th March 2013, a group of Sri Lankan youth, environmental activists and international volunteers will cycle from one of the ancient capitals in Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura, to the country’s capital, Colombo, over a 10-day journey. The bicycle journey, organized by a small grassroots organization, Eco-V, aims to build a sense of pride and responsibility for this sensitive island and further the process of empowering young people as social and environmental actors. The journey will demonstrate how the bicycle can be a positive and powerful force of social change in this age of fast-paced, consumer driven life.
NextGEN Ladakh is exciting
The “Socially Engaged Buddhists of Ladakh” (SEBoL), a youth led organization, showed their interest in the NextGEN movement in Asia. They are motivated and full of energy and determination to empower young Ladakhis to strengthen their connections with their cultural roots, wisdom and spirituality, while taking responsibility for their society and the ecological balance. They have a close relationship with NextGEN Thailand and are planning collaborative activities in Ladakh.
Spirit of Asia
NextGEN GENOA is planning their first regional project called Spirit of Asia. By observing that Asian youth are disconnecting from their roots of culture, wisdom and spirituality, NextGEN GENOA is organizing this project as a continental campaign towards valuing diversity of local wisdom, spirituality and sustainable lifestyles.
Spirit of Asia strongly envisions the cultural revival and empowerment of the connection between youth with their cultural roots, spirituality, local wisdom, their wise elders, and nature. For, when the youth connect with their roots they realize who they are, what their values are and where their spirits are.
Spirit of Asia plans a journey from Sri Lanka through India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
On their journey, they intend to interact with local youth groups in each country on their route, in order to acknowledge their local wisdom and culture.
They will discuss the threads coming into the local communities and share visions for the future with the local groups. Together with the local youth groups, they intend to engage with, and learn from, the elders in the communities to learn the Asian wisdom and Asian spirit.
They will listen and hear from the elders the knowledge of what is life, what is the spirit of Asia, and what is going on in the world from the elders’ perspectives, and the wisdom they have to share with the younger generations.
NextGEN GENOA will take action to serve the community and exchange their local wisdom and culture with the communities through music, dance, songs, storytelling, etc. The Spirit of Asia project is in the process of planning and preparation. The story of this journey will surely be shared along the way.
More information: Narumon Paiboonsittikun [email protected]