- Quotes about Youth Changing the World – Freechild Institute
- Gandhi’s philosophy still inspires 71 years later
- 1,426 responses to “Why I Walked Out on Tony Robbins”
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Every week, thousands of Belgian youth are marching on the EU capitol of Brussels. And on March 15, in what may be the largest youth-led protest in history, an estimated 1. Dianne Feinstein of California about her support for climate policies. And a group of teens has sued the U. Younger politicians are making their voices heard, too. Also consider what year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has achieved in just a few months in office. Congress has moved the terms of the climate debate significantly. Before writing this off as a lot of noise, consider the role of youth in previous social movements.
Baby Boomers, when they were kids and teens, led the anti-war movement. The famed Greensboro lunch counter sit-in was led by four young men aged 17, 18, and African-American kids bravely desegregated schools, and the first person to get arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat was not actually Rosa Parks, but year-old Claudette Colvin.
Within just a few weeks, they called for marches, which over one million people showed up for around the world. Cut to a year later, and the U. House of Representatives just passed the first real gun control legislation in many years. This brings me to business, and a warning: no organization can avoid values shifts. Remember, there were moments in history where it was generally acceptable to use slave labor or children in supply chains, to wink at rampant sexual harassment in offices, and to freely dump pollution in rivers and the air.
Morals changed, and then laws. In fact, companies seem to be more comfortable taking public stands on issues like race , immigration , gun violence , and transgender rights before speaking strongly on the environment. And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes.
You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.
I was in China in , at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?
Quotes about Youth Changing the World – Freechild Institute
The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.
Fiction can show you a different world. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different. And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with and books are real places, make no mistake about that ; and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison.
Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.
Gandhi’s philosophy still inspires 71 years later
And to give them nowhere to read those books. I was lucky. I had an excellent local library growing up. They were good librarians. They liked books and they liked the books being read. They taught me how to order books from other libraries on inter-library loans. They had no snobbery about anything I read.
1,426 responses to “Why I Walked Out on Tony Robbins”
They just seemed to like that there was this wide-eyed little boy who loved to read, and would talk to me about the books I was reading, they would find me other books in a series, they would help. They treated me as another reader — nothing less or more — which meant they treated me with respect. I was not used to being treated with respect as an eight-year-old. But libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university , about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.
I worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them. If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to miss the point fundamentally.
I think it has to do with nature of information. Information has value, and the right information has enormous value.
For all of human history, we have lived in a time of information scarcity, and having the needed information was always important, and always worth something: when to plant crops, where to find things, maps and histories and stories — they were always good for a meal and company. Information was a valuable thing, and those who had it or could obtain it could charge for that service. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until The challenge becomes, not finding that scarce plant growing in the desert, but finding a specific plant growing in a jungle.
We are going to need help navigating that information to find the thing we actually need. Libraries are places that people go to for information. Books are only the tip of the information iceberg: they are there, and libraries can provide you freely and legally with books. More children are borrowing books from libraries than ever before — books of all kinds: paper and digital and audio.
But libraries are also, for example, places that people, who may not have computers, who may not have internet connections, can go online without paying anything: hugely important when the way you find out about jobs, apply for jobs or apply for benefits is increasingly migrating exclusively online. Librarians can help these people navigate that world. I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, more than 20 years before the Kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs.
And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar-operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them. They belong in libraries, just as libraries have already become places you can go to get access to ebooks, and audiobooks and DVDs and web content.
A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it. That includes health information. And mental health information. What the libraries of the future will be like is something we should be imagining now. Literacy is more important than ever it was, in this world of text and email, a world of written information. We need to read and write, we need global citizens who can read comfortably, comprehend what they are reading, understand nuance, and make themselves understood.
Libraries really are the gates to the future. So it is unfortunate that, round the world, we observe local authorities seizing the opportunity to close libraries as an easy way to save money, without realising that they are stealing from the future to pay for today. They are closing the gates that should be open. Or to put it another way, our children and our grandchildren are less literate and less numerate than we are.
They are less able to navigate the world, to understand it to solve problems. They can be more easily lied to and misled, will be less able to change the world in which they find themselves, be less employable. All of these things. And as a country, England will fall behind other developed nations because it will lack a skilled workforce. Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over.
There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told. I think we have responsibilities to the future. Responsibilities and obligations to children, to the adults those children will become, to the world they will find themselves inhabiting.
All of us — as readers, as writers, as citizens — have obligations. I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places.