Ward: International Inspiration: Young adults need to utilize passion to inspire change


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Umbrella Revolution is taking place in Hong Kong and is a pro-democracy protest. 

Madison Ward

For years now it has been national news that our natural resources are on the dwindling. People all over the world are concerned about how much longer the fresh water supply will meet its demand and how long it will be until the amount of phosphorus needed to grow essential plants runs out. But there is one natural resource that exists on every continent in every country that has yet to be utilized properly and that natural resource is young adults.

Throughout history the people that we hear about most often are adults who have taken a stand and demanded something be changed and as a result we expect that to continually be the case, but that is not necessarily so. Right now, in China there is a young man by the name of Joshua Wong who is part of the leading force in a protest that is being compared to Tiananmen Square to try and instate a democracy, and he is only 17-years-old. 

This protest that has taken over Hong Kong for nearly two weeks now, blocking off streets and closing down schools all in hopes to finally see some forward movement in a city that has had a tough go of it politically.

For 99 years Hong Kong was property of the United Kingdom, rent free might I add, which gave the people virtually no input on government decisions. In 1997 after the tie with the UK was cut, Hong Kong was named a “special” member of China which again silenced the people by ensuring all decisions made in Hong Kong would benefit Beijing and the wealthy, not the common citizens. 

And now, 17 years later, the people of Hong Kong are saying enough is enough and that they no longer want to be batted around in this global pingpong match. And what did it take for this desire for change to finally be acknowledged and acted upon? A teenager who was only a baby when Hong Kong was on the cusp of its biggest adjustment to date and other students who share his views. 

The “Umbrella Revolution”, as this peaceful protest has been coined due to the fact that protesters had to protect themselves from pepper spraying-tear gas wielding police officers with umbrellas, has been plastered on front pages and news webpages. But one thing I have noticed is that all the stories are about how this protest is a disruption to daily life and what political and economic ramifications will take place once the protest is neutralized. Yes this is all important stuff but it is covering up the fact that this movement is being spearheaded by a teenager, someone who I myself am only a few months older than. He and his fellow young comrades, should be an inspiration to every teen out there who didn’t think that they could have any significant impact on the world simply because they aren’t a “grown-up” yet. 

Adults often tell us that we need to think through our every move very carefully before we act on it because if we don’t we could make a huge mistake, but have they ever stopped to think that because they do that, they are acting more with their brain and less with their heart? The more you sit and mull over an idea the less passionate you are about it, and that is very unfortunate because the most change is effected by passion. If this movement had been initiated by an adult, I can guarantee you they would have thought a lot about what the economy would do, what people would say and with each and every thought would come another reason not to go with their initial gut feeling. 

Not that I’m saying adults aren’t passionate, because much of the biggest changes in this country have been initiated by adults. But I personally believe that because this movement was envisioned through the eyes of individuals not yet jaded by the world and with enough conviction to just go for it, they will not only impact the direction China’s government is headed, but also provide the people with the voice they deserve.