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Feeling distraught about the state of the world? This episode is for you. It turns out your pessimism is not evenly shared. Younger people, particularly younger people in the developing world, have a bright view of the future and expect their lives to be better than their parents.

“This is the optimism of the tech generation that can see a way forward,” an expert on generational change, Dr. Eliza Filby explained. “They have a sense of what’s possible because they have access to information.”

Which also means their hopefulness is built on a clear-eyed view, says co-host Edie Lush. “It’s not all rainbows and chocolate chip cookies,” she observed. “They do also see the challenges.” But they believe they have access to the education, skills and support to tackle those challenges, from climate to mental health to healthy food. “I think technology helps us learn alot more effeciently and faster,” said Eden van Wyngaardt, a student in South Africa. 

While many people in the developed world feel their expectations thwarted and worry that young people won’t do as well as their parents, in the developing world there is a strong sense of possibility and agency. 

“The world that we would want to have depends on each and everyone’s personal actions,” said Ibrahim Kondeh, whose story of survival as a refugee from west Africa was featured on earlier episodes of Global GoalsCast.

Eden and Ibrahim were two of the young people interviewed for this episode. We asked them several of the questions from a UNICEF survey of 21,000 people, young and older, all around the world. This intergenerational survey identified the optimism of the young. “Young people are 50% more likely than older generations to believe the world is becoming a better place,” reported Unicef, a Global GoalsCast partner.

This episode was sponsored by Mastercard and features Payal Dalal of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. Thanks to our partners at One Young World and iamthecode.org for introductions to some of the young people we interviewed.

Featured guests

Payal Dalal

Payal currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Social Impact, International Markets at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. She joined the Center in April 2018 and oversees the Center’s philanthropic investments around the globe.

Previously, she was Head of Global Community Programs for Standard Chartered Bank. In this capacity, she oversaw all programs related to education, health, emergency response, and disaster relief. Payal joined Standard Chartered in July 2008 as the Head of Public Affairs for the Americas. With a professional background in international philanthropy and politics, Payal has worked for a wide range of public sector organizations including the World Affairs Council, the Global Philanthropy Forum and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Payal also worked on foreign policy for the Office of President William J. Clinton. In 2014, President and Secretary Clinton appointed Payal to be a program advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative; her post was renewed in 2015.

Payal has extensive experience in financial services as well. Prior to joining Standard Chartered, she worked on the launch of the AT&T Universal Savings and Reward Card for Citi.

A Texas native, Payal has a BA with honors from Stanford University and an MBA and an MPA from New York University.

Ibrahim Konde

My name is Ibrahim Kondeh, I am from Sierra Leone. I’m presently a student at the University of Oklahoma in the U.S. I am majoring in Economics and Management of Information Systems. For the past few years, I have been actively engaged in using my voice and writing in creating awareness and advocating for the rights of migrants and refugees.

Kayla Coppin

Kayla Coppin is nearly 13 years old and is a pupil of Holy Rosary School in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her favourite subjects are History, Music, and English. She is extremely passionate and is an activist at heart. Some of her projects have involved being part of drives to collect plastic bottle tops for recycling to sponsor wheelchairs for those in need; stationery drives; crocheting\knitting squares to make blankets for those in need during the winter months, and recycle projects. She is passionate about serious topics involving climate change, global warming, and pollution. She enjoys playing guitar and keyboard. She was introduced to us by iamthecode.org

Eden van Wyngaardt

Eden is 12 years old and a pupil of Holy Rosary School in Johannesburg, South Africa. Eden van Wyngaardt is a proudly South African activist. She is extremely passionate about the seventeen sustainable goals and other world issues. She has created her own YouTube channel called Edie the World, where she talks about how she thinks we can improve the world and mankind. She is eager to make a difference in our world. She believes that if everyone just played their part in contributing to humanity, we would live in a much more pleasant and sustainable world. She was introduced to us by iamthecode.org

Calisa Da Mata

Calista Da Mata is a pupil of Holy Rosary in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is almost 13 years old and participates in all aspects of school life. She loves her sport – netball, hockey and long jump. In her spare time, she plays the guitar and loves reading interesting books. Calista is dedicated to making changes in her community. She is part of the Johannesburg Mini Council, a charity organisation, which is committed to making the city a better place, by promoting charity drives and helping people and the environment.

Dr Eliza Filby

Dr Eliza Filby is a writer, speaker and consultant who specialises in ‘Generational Intelligence’ helping companies and services understand generational shifts within politics, society and the workplace.

Eliza has worked with a variety of organizations from VICE media to Warner Brothers, from the UK’s Ministry of Defence to the Royal Household, with banks such as HSBC, Barclays, BYMellon in Canada and Macquarie in Australia. She has spoken at the EU’s Human Rights Forum on teenagers and technology; the Financial Times CEO forum on the future of work and to the UK’s House of Lord’s Select Committee on intergenerational unfairness.

She is the author of Fuelling Gender Diversity: Unlocking the Next Generation Workplace and Mind the Gap: Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce in the Post Pandemic Age and recently launched her own podcast, It’s All Relative, in which she interviews famous families on the generation gap. It is available on Spotify and Apple.

Eliza received her PhD from the University of Warwick and subsequently taught at King’s College, London and the University of Renmin in China. Her writing has been published in The Times, Guardian and the Financial Times.

Her writing can be found on her website www.elizafilby.com and you find out more @drelizafilby on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Siddhant Sarang

Siddhant Sarang is a history undergraduate student at the University of Delhi. Since his days at school, he has been a close watcher of global climate-related events. “I have been working on environmental issues since 2014. I accompanied my social worker father to the Saharsa district of Bihar, who was there for flood relief and rehabilitation works in the 2008 Bihar flood, one of the most disastrous floods in the history of Bihar that claimed thousands of lives. As a child, this was my first exposure to the complex outer world. I was in 7th standard, and after returning from the trip, I started learning about climate change. I later founded a youth-led organization Youth Frontliners with my classmates to work for environmental concerns in 2014 at the age of 14.” He has created a podcast in Bhojpuri called ‘Dharti Maiya’. Hailing from Bihar, this youngster hopes to connect to rural communities in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh via podcast about climate change. According to the 2011 census, Bhojpuri is the eighth predominant language in India and the third most spoken language in Nepal, with 51 million native speakers. “It occurred to me that we could make it multilingual using AI(Artificial Technology). In addition, I would like to engage the rural community in the subject of climate change, thus an application will be quite useful. We are developing an app and a website that will telecast the information in all 22 languages included in the Indian Constitution’s 8th list”. This project also aims to support grassroots activists by sharing climate change information and successfully connecting with individuals.Dr Eliza Filby is a writer, speaker and consultant who specialises in ‘Generational Intelligence’ helping companies and services understand generational shifts within politics, society and the workplace.

Transcript

The World is Already a Better Place

[00:00:00] I think technology helps us learn a lot more efficiently and faster.

This is the optimism of the tech generation that can see a way forward. They have a sense of what’s possible because they have access to information.

I am planning to study in one of the most prestigious institutes of the world, Oxford university. And this opportunity was very limited in their generation.

The knowledge around healthy food and what is and isn’t good for you, I think has definitely improved.

In the developing world, it’s a period of intensified, social and economic progress, and it’s no wonder, therefore, that those Gen Zers in the developing world are that much more optimistic about their future than the Gen Zs in the developed world.

[00:00:56] Edie Lush: Welcome to the Global GoalsCast.

[00:00:58] Claudia Romo Edelman: The podcast that [00:01:00] shows how we can change the world. In this episode, the future is not as bleak as you think.

[00:01:06] Edie Lush: At least that’s what young people are telling us.

[00:01:10] Claudia Romo Edelman: This story really lifts my spirits. We talk to younger people from all over the world. I heard a lot of optimism, a lot of hope.

[00:01:20] Edie Lush: So it turns out it’s older generations who are in despair. Young people, especially young people in the developing world, have a very different view, but Claudia, they’re also realistic. It’s not all rainbows and chocolate chip cookies. They do also see the challenges.

[00:01:39] Claudia Romo Edelman: But they think the world is a better place today than when their parents were young and they believe in their own ability to keep making it better.

So if you need a dose of positive thinking amidst all the difficult news, we have that for you right after this. [00:02:00]

[00:02:00] Michelle: This episode of Global GoalsCast is brought to you by MasterCard. MasterCard is dedicated to building an inclusive world in which the digital economy works for everyone, everywhere.

[00:02:12] Payal Dalal: What we’re doing is repairing MasterCard assets with philanthropic capital to ensure that everyone is connected to the networks that power the modern economy. It’s making sure that everyone benefits from economic development and innovation.

[00:02:26] Michelle: Thanks also to CBS News Digital.

[00:02:34] Edie Lush: Welcome back! I’m Edie Lush, Happy New Year, by the way. And happy late birthday Claudia. It was your 21st, right?

[00:02:42] Claudia Romo Edelman: Ha ha. Thank you so much. And by the way, I am Claudia Romo Edelman, Edie, and I’m so inspired by this episode.

[00:02:51] Edie Lush: Right? We got the idea from our partners at UNICEF, where you used to work.

[00:02:56] Claudia Romo Edelman: Amazing place. They do so much important work. But [00:03:00] sometimes it feels like all that good work is just holding back the tides of trouble. Hope is so vital and sometimes it’s really hard to maintain. In fact, that’s one reason we started this podcast, Edie, 4 years ago! Can you believe it? Four years ago to celebrate people and groups like UNICEF that are making a big difference and encourage everyone to believe that we can change the world, we can mold it into shape. We can kick it into shape. It’s possible. We’ve been listened to in over 190 countries and territories around the world. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:03:36] Edie Lush: Global GoalsCast has 250,000 downloads. Yes.

[00:03:41] Claudia Romo Edelman: All I’m saying Edie is people really care. They do. And that is what we want to talk about today.

[00:03:48] Edie Lush: Hope is all around us if you know who to ask.

[00:03:52] Claudia Romo Edelman: Right, Edie. for dinos or Gen Xers, Let’s listen to Gen Z.

[00:03:57] Edie Lush: UNICEF surveyed [00:04:00] 21,000 people, young and old, all around the world. And what they found should lift everyone’s spirits.

[00:04:06] Claudia Romo Edelman: Younger people just don’t buy the pessimism of those over 40 years old.

[00:04:12] Edie Lush: They know we have challenges and they believe that we can conquer them.

[00:04:16] Eden van Wyngaardt: Nelson Mandela says that education is the power that you need to change the world, and without education, we wouldn’t have new technology or cures for all of these diseases. And one thing that education can do for you is it last you a lifetime.

[00:04:31] Calisa Da Mata: If you set goals for yourself and you work hard towards achieving those goals. It will lead to success.

[00:04:37] Kayla Coppin: All mental wellbeing is important and we should feel free to share.

[00:04:41] Edie Lush: That’s Eden, Calista and Kayla from South Africa. They’re three of the young people that I spoke to for this episode. And here’s one. Ibrahim Konde.

[00:04:51] Ibrahim Konde: I believe things can change. And it just depends on our actions today, actually. Yeah. I think that [00:05:00] when I talk about actions today, that’s where the realistic power of me comes up. But I do believe like the future that we want to see, the future that would want to have, the wall that we will want to have depends on each and everyone’s possible actions.

[00:05:15] Edie Lush: Ibrahim’s voice will be familiar to Global GoalsCast listeners who remember his amazing story of survival as a refugee from west Africa.

[00:05:24] Ibrahim Konde: After going through all of that, and then you come out of it you find people who really want to help you out. And then you realize that those people who did harm to you were just a little fraction of the general population of people who are willing to, to help you out, then it just gives you hope.

[00:05:50] Claudia Romo Edelman: It’s great to hear Ibrahim again Edie. His optimism is such a gift. I remember our two episodes from season three, the story of his Trek from Sierra [00:06:00] Leone across the Sahara, and then across the Mediterranean.

[00:06:06] Ibrahim Konde: Throughout the journey I can’t recall a day that I slept in a house where there’s a roof on top. I can’t recall. And so at a seaside, it was fairly cold and very cold. It was in December. Very cold and we had to be outside and we get food, a loaf of bread once a day. And so I was there for like two weeks because we had to wait for the construction of the dingies and also the weather condition.

[00:06:40] Edie Lush: Can you believe, Claudia, that it was just a few years ago that Ibrahim was a refugee in Italy. This week I caught up with him in the United States where he’s now an undergraduate at the university of Oklahoma.

[00:06:53] Ibrahim Konde: It is a difficult ride. I was able to come out successful. I sent applications to different [00:07:00] universities for scholarships to be able to continue my study. Thankful I got about eight offers, full ride scholarships, but I chose the university of Oklahoma where I am studying at the moment. And I kept on being an advocate for migrants and refugees as well.

[00:07:19] Claudia Romo Edelman: Yeah. What an awesome young man. We are going to hear more from Ibrahim, and from other young people, but first Edie! Tell us about the expert you spoke to.

[00:07:30] Edie Lush: It’s very useful to have friends who are experts, right? Dr Eliza Filby studies society through the prism of age and generations, and she was not at all surprised by the optimism that we had been hearing from young people. Here’s how she explained it.

[00:07:47] Dr Eliza Filby: This is the generation that we’re talking about here that have grown up under a particular set of circumstances both challenging, but also illuminating an optimistic, [00:08:00] so challenging in the sense that, you know, it’s the growth of populism, the development of fake news and lack of trust in politicians, global economy, and then of course also the tech upheaval as well. This is the generation that grew up with a smartphone in their pocket, and invarably have had a smartphone in their pocket both in the developing world and in the developed world since the early teens and because of that connection with the world, I think they have a greater sense of their generational identity, that greater understanding of the world’s problems. But also I think a greater sense that things can change because they’re seeing change on a daily basis. And I think for the first time you can actually talk about gen Z being a global generation and understanding the world’s problems and a sense of solidarity, particularly in the wake of COVID of course, which is their sort of generational defining moment. And this created certainly a sense of solidarity that the world’s [00:09:00] problems are global in scale, and the world’s solutions are therefore global in scale. This is the optimism of the tech generation that can see a way forward, whether it be about climate change, whether it be tackling systematic racism, whether it be dealing with corruption, a governmental level, I think they have a sense of what’s possible because they have access to information. And there are obviously negative experiences of that, but ultimately in the main, there’s so much optimism from knowing so much more.

[00:09:39] Edie Lush: I asked Eliza Filby about one aspect of the UNICEF survey that really struck me, which was that young people in low and middle-income countries are pretty sure they’ll do economically better than their parents. But those in higher income countries are not so sure that they’re going to be better off.[00:10:00]

[00:10:00] Dr Eliza Filby: There’s no doubt that those in the developed world, those in the west, have grown up under a particular set of circumstances that have been uniquely challenging for the young. Whether that’s greater costs involved in education, whether that’s issues around mental health and negative experiences around technology, whether that’s around access to jobs, training, or specifically housing, it’s become much harder to have those kinds of opportunities in the west and to even have a mirror of the opportunities that our parents had at their age. But in the developing world, it’s a very different story, right? It’s a period of intensified social and economic progress, particularly for young women, a widening of opportunities and an acceleration of development, growth and opportunity. And it’s no wonder, therefore, that those gen Zers in the developing world [00:11:00] are that much more optimistic about their future than the gen Zs in the developed world.

[00:11:06] Claudia Romo Edelman: Wow, Edie. Dr. Eliza Filby. She has really thought about the generations, hasn’t she?

[00:11:13] Edie Lush: Indeed. She advises companies and governments, and she’s a fellow podcaster. We’re going to hear more from her later, but first we want to listen to the voice of the new generation.

[00:11:26] Claudia Romo Edelman: We used that UNICEF survey as our guide and asked young people some of the same questions that the survey asked.

[00:11:34] Edie Lush: One of the key questions asked whether on various topics, things are better or worse for children today than they were for their parents when they were growing up. On education and health care, young people overwhelmingly think that things are better.

[00:11:47] Claudia Romo Edelman: Well, we want to start with a topic that we found really surprising where the answer was very nuanced. Is your opportunity to play better or worse than your parents at your age?[00:12:00]

[00:12:00] Eden van Wyngaardt: I think it’s worse for children today. There’s only limited space where you can really play and extended school days. Lots of kids are focused with the pressure, they’re so focused on academics. We really don’t have time to just be children.

[00:12:15] Edie Lush: That’s Eden in South Africa, whose nickname, by the way, is Edie, very cool to have another one out there. We spoke to her with two of her friends, first Kayla and then Calista.

[00:12:27] Kayla Coppin: I think that we do have a lot more opportunities to play because we have technology which we can play on. But I don’t think we take those opportunities as much as our parents did. And I think that’s also because it’s not safe for us to walk around or play in our streets anymore.

[00:12:42] Edie Lush: Do you feel that where you live?

[00:12:44] Kayla Coppin: I live in a complex, so I do you feel safe walking around my complex, but I wouldn’t feel safe walking outside my complex alone.

[00:12:50] Calisa Da Mata: Children would rather have screen time, then go outside and play. And also it is not as safe anymore. Back in my estate I know [00:13:00] that I can go to the park and be with my friends, but it’s because I’m in an estate. If I had to walk outside alone, I wouldn’t feel safe.

[00:13:08] Edie Lush: Eden, Kayla and Calista are students at Holy Rosary school in Johannesburg. We were introduced to them through Iamthecode, a terrific organization committed to teaching girls and women in Africa and all over the world how to code.

[00:13:23] Claudia Romo Edelman: Indeed. Ibrahim pointed out technology has changed the nature of play for his generation.

[00:13:32] Ibrahim Konde: I prefer to play outside on muddy fields than being behind a computer screen playing video games where I could be faced with morph, psychological trauma and depression as well as bullying. But I believe our parents, the past generation, used to play outside because playing back home in those villages, in those muddy fields, you say, does this joy within us as kids [00:14:00] running around playing in the rain, it’s really like just forget that we might be returning home to table without food, but this was really, it was really important in our opinion, because on these fields is where we bond with our friends, we builds connection. And we have fun.

[00:14:20] Edie Lush: In many places there’s muddy fields that Ibrahim remembers so fondly have actually been dissapearing. As Siddhant Sarang told us from India.

[00:14:30] Siddhant Sarang: The playgrounds that we had has now malls or multi purpose buildings so we do not have that opportunities to play. Like, only we can play on a computer or mobile phone so that I miss actually.

[00:14:44] Claudia Romo Edelman: Edie the one thing I realized listening to these young people is that change is everywhere for them. Constant. And they expected, and they are not thrown by it. So even when they can observe that something has been lost, like playing on that muddy [00:15:00] field, they know some things have gained too.

[00:15:03] Edie Lush: We’re going to hear much more from these young people, but first this message from our sponsor MasterCard.

[00:15:12] Payal Dalal: The MasterCard center for inclusive growth is the philanthropic hub of MasterCard. So we bring together the company’s core assets, like our network or data insights, or expertise or technology or funding to build inclusive and sustainable economies. So essentially what we’re doing is repairing MasterCard assets with philanthropic capital to ensure that everyone is connected to the networks that power, the modern economy like financial services or digital marketplaces. And the concept of inclusive growth is actually really quite simple. It’s making sure that everyone benefits from economic development and innovation.

[00:15:48] Edie Lush: How do you think we should be spurring on economic recovery?

[00:15:52] Payal Dalal: To catalyze economic growth that’s inclusive, we really have to focus on small businesses around the world.[00:16:00]

If you look at developing economies, micro and small businesses provide 70% of jobs and 50% of global GDP. The MasterCard economics institute put out a report in October that showed that actually about a third more small retailers launched in 2020 compared to 2019. So I think what this means is that people saw economic opportunity in starting new businesses. So in my view, if we want to get economies growing again, we really have to focus on helping small businesses get back on their feet. I think we have to help small businesses navigate the digital economy and the accelerated transition to digital. A lot of the issues that micro and small businesses face before the pandemic were simply exacerbated. They needed to go from physical to digital doors and think about a completely different way of doing business.

[00:16:51] Edie Lush: You can find out more about MasterCard’s philanthropic work on inclusive growth at mastercardcenter.org. [00:17:00] And thank you to Payal Dalal for joining us and to MasterCard for their ongoing support of Global GoalsCast.

[00:17:12] Claudia Romo Edelman: Welcome back! Edie, what is so impressive about these young people is a realism, not only their optimism, their realism. They look the challenges right in the eye.

[00:17:24] Edie Lush: Yeah. And you can hear that in their answers to whether they felt better or worse off than their parents on matters of health and public safety.

[00:17:33] Eden van Wyngaardt: Child mortality has actually been quite low. Children haven’t been in much accidents and because of maybe better designs in the car and better designs of the road. And also parents are a lot more obsessed over their children and they want them to be safe and because of that, I think physical safety is better.

[00:17:53] Kayla Coppin: I think it depends on where you live and how old you are. But I think it’s so much worse than our parents’ generation, but [00:18:00] some kids don’t even feel safe in their own homes let alone like outside.

[00:18:04] Calisa Da Mata: Gender based violence is a serious problem in South Africa. So I think it’s actually getting worse.

[00:18:10] Claudia Romo Edelman: There was one question on which the young people all seem to agree on the answer. Do you think today’s children have more pressure or less pressure from others to succeed in life than when their parents were growing up?

[00:18:25] Calisa Da Mata: I don’t feel pressure to exceed, but I know that’s not true for all children around the world. And a lot of children feel tons of pressure to succeed. And this increases anxiety and stress levels, which leads to poorer physical and emotional health. I just feel that my parents want me to do my best and be happy with all my choices.

[00:18:46] Kayla Coppin: Sometimes I could look at my friends and think why can’t I get that mark or why can’t I do that.

[00:18:52] Ibrahim Konde: Well, that depends .on different backgrounds . I come from very poor background in Sierra Lione, and [00:19:00] I’ve seen what poverty actually looks like. And trust me it’s not a good sight. Back home, when you are successful, in most cases, you are the only person from your family or even the entire village. So it comes with it with a huge pride for parents as well. So you might get pressure from them to do well. So in other cases like the pressure to succeed comes from society itself and the existing social standards are to be played here is you’re given more respect when you’re successful than when you’re poor.

[00:19:33] Eden van Wyngaardt: I think children have more pressure. Lots of children on social media, looking at this curve, thick person, constantly putting pictures on social media about how they’ve gotten to the perfect school on how they’ve done so great, and to feel a lot of, a lot of pressure to achieve what they’ve achieved. And also it’s this, this crazy obsession with perfection in our generation. It’s just perfect, perfect, [00:20:00] perfect when it’s almost impossible to be perfect. And because social media always depicts that everybody’s perfect with their selfies, with their videos, there’s a lot more pressure to be like them.

[00:20:12] Edie Lush: Do you feel that pressure personally?

[00:20:15] Eden van Wyngaardt: I do sometimes because as I go on YouTube. I look at lots of people and I feel like, wow, they’ve achieved so much. I wish I could do that. There’s like almost a gap. But then I sometimes tell myself they I started off where I was. So you just have to realise that the gap isn’t as big as you think it is.

[00:20:42] Edie Lush: By the way, Claudia, Eden, AKA Edie, has her own YouTube channel talking about the global goals, and she’s 12. So enormous respect.

[00:20:53] Claudia Romo Edelman: Oh, absolutely. That comment though, it’s really sad. Young people feel more [00:21:00] pressure. Perfect, perfect, perfect. But they also see, they feel far more empowered than their parents to talk about their mental health. And that I think helps a lot.

[00:21:10] Edie Lush: I think so too Claudia. Mental health is becoming less of a taboo. My kids are way more knowledgeable about anxiety, about depression than I ever was at their age. And the young people that I spoke to for this episode said their schools had wellness days, carefree days, or my favorite, a no bones day, which isn’t to say that it’s easy because as Eliza Filby said, they are in the generation that’s growing up with a phone in their pocket.

[00:21:41] Calisa Da Mata: Social media has a massive effect on mental wellbeing because people always compare themselves to others, like I have to go scrolling on an app and seeing these people with these beautiful hourglass figures and stuff like that. Why can’t I be like that? I’m so fat or whatever.

[00:21:57] Edie Lush: Do you feel that when you look at social media?

[00:21:59] Calisa Da Mata: [00:22:00] Sometimes I can. I feel like it gets worse as you get older, but I try to tell myself that I’m only 12. Like, can I relax, you know?

[00:22:10] Edie Lush: I tried to tell myself I’m only 50. Can I relax?

[00:22:14] Calisa Da Mata: Yeah. That’s yeah. I mean, obviously sometimes I do feel back to backs. I mean, you just have to love yourself and learn to love yourself.

[00:22:25] Edie Lush: With social media companies continuing to prioritize profit above the mental health of humans, whatever age they are, the young people we spoke with are wise enough to take matters into their own hands and find ways of looking after their mental health. In fact, Iamthecode taught them some of their favorite techniques.

[00:22:45] Calisa Da Mata: One of my favorites is the bunny breath, where you breathe in and make a duck hop out. Another one that we recently learned is melting, we all freeze up and then you pretend to meltdown. That one’s really helpful.

[00:22:57] Edie Lush: How does it make you feel when you do it?

[00:22:59] Calisa Da Mata: It [00:23:00] makes me feel tense when I do tense up for the melting one, but then when I let go and melt, it makes me feel a bit more relaxed and put together.

[00:23:13] Claudia Romo Edelman: But there is still a mental health mountain to climb.

[00:23:19] Ibrahim Konde: It’s something frowned upon. I know that people out there who need help, but just don’t know how to get it or shame to admit it.

[00:23:27] Siddhant Sarang: If I go to my friend and tell that I have a mental problem, they’ll bully me. They’ll make fun of me that I am mad. I am psyching that I am having mental issues and actually, majority of the people or majority of the students are here facing mental issues, but it is very less reported. The only rise voices, raised voices, then someone kills themselves. If someone died, then lead we raise voices that no, we need to take mental health seriously, but it is still a taboo. I have faced myself this problem, and I was [00:24:00] no one to share things with or who can understand these things.

[00:24:06] Edie Lush: Perhaps the most important source of optimism and confidence is a universal belief that education and information are more available to them than to their parents.

[00:24:17] Eden van Wyngaardt: I’d say, overall, the quality of education we receive now is better because in the past that it used to be, there’s only based on books and lectures, but now with new technology, they switched sides, there’s iPads, there’s PowerPoints. And I think technology helps us learn a lot quicker, more efficiently and faster.

[00:24:37] Claudia Romo Edelman: Ibrahim isn’t so sure that technology is the answer.

[00:24:42] Ibrahim Konde: Technology has taken away that ability to think critically and in developing like real life problem solving skills.

[00:24:51] Edie Lush: But for Sidhant, opportunities out of reach to his parents are now a real possibility for him.

[00:24:57] Siddhant Sarang: I am planning to study in one of the most [00:25:00] prestigious institutes of the world, Oxford University. And this opportunity was very limited in their generation because those who had a lot of money, those who were very rich, could only even get to know what is Oxford. So we have better opportunity than my parents had.

[00:25:20] Edie Lush: Access to enough food and healthy food was a really important question for these young people. They spoke about food waste, food equity, and food deserts, and connected all of that to environmental concerns.

[00:25:34] Calisa Da Mata: The knowledge around healthy food and what’s is and isn’t good for you, I think has definitely improved, but I’m not sure if we’re eating more healthy foods than our parents were.

[00:25:45] Ibrahim Konde: I don’t think children today have much healthy food to eat as compared to past generations. I mean, we have like mass production of food stuffs that are rich in chemicals and at lower cost [00:26:00] to consumers on supermarket shelves and they had nothing but a hazard to our health and, and world too, to those who produce it. Back home where I’m from in Sierra Lione, there is access to healthy food because most of the food we eat are locally produced because we do most of subsistence farming in villages. And so if you eat vegetable or fruits say, It’s something that you get direct from the farm. It has no chemicals in it. So it’s really, really healthy. So if it’s season for mangoes, the whole community, or the whole village is like a mango heaven. Every household has these trees, mango trees. And you can just walk around, eat as much as you want. Nobody questions you, it’s abundent.

[00:26:53] Siddhant Sarang: After the mixture of capitalism or the competition in the market to earn more, the [00:27:00] welfare of people has gone for a toss, no, no company cares for the good for the people. They just want to make money.

[00:27:07] Edie Lush: Claudia no surprise that this younger generation is worried about climate change and determined to act, but they were perhaps more charitable to their parents’ generation that you might think from listening to Greta Thunberg.

[00:27:20] Calisa Da Mata: I think our parents’ generation took a great deal in contributing to the state of the climate change today. But I don’t blame them because they weren’t educated about it. I was speaking to my dad the other day and he was saying that he, all this climate change stuff is very new to him. And when he was growing up, they knew nothing about it. So the companies could just do whatever they want without thinking about what they could do to our environment.

[00:27:45] Claudia Romo Edelman: Edie, It’s amazing listening to these young people. It is not just that they say they’re hopeful. It is that sense that they are really getting what’s going on and believing that they can deal with it. I think that this [00:28:00] is a good episode for people that have been fried for so long to hear the voices of people, of young people, life from different places in the world, and they all agree on the same thing, that we can make this work. I’m like, this is really hard and there are things that are very tough, but at the end of the day, we’re optimistic and we’re hopeful. I do think that this is a calling for the industry to understand that healthier foods, plant-based food and so on is an opportunity because people from India, from Africa, from everywhere in the world are actually just like really developing that data point of saying like, we will buy it.

[00:28:37] Edie Lush: When I came away talking to these young people with a really powerful sense that you guys have got this. They seem really on top of things and they’re pretty serious too, which Eliza Filby told me is a real marker of this generation.

[00:28:55] Dr Eliza Filby: It speaks to a growing trend that has happened over the [00:29:00] last 20 to 30 years is that being young has become incredibly serious. And you, you know, really, if you think about the, the first bus of youth culture in fifties and sixties was about that period of exploration and experimentation and getting things wrong and not being on this like clear, pressured trajectory through education or your, your career. And now, being young, it’s about, you know, making the right decisions. You can’t get anything wrong, your comparing your lives to not just your peers, but across those across the world. On social media, you have to get the right grades. You have to get to the right university. The pressure is also coming from education because education is now a global competition, right? It’s not just the competition within your school or your university put so much pressure on them, obviously through social platforms and technology. And I think the mental health [00:30:00] crisis within this generation is a reflection of that, but also an awakening, a sense that there’s something not quite right about having an experience in your teens and your early twenties where you’re on this kind of conveyor belt and you can’t get off. And there’s so much pressure to get everything right. I mean, you’re seeing with gen Z record numbers of those not drinking, not smoking, certainly like their parents did not having as much sex. You know, all of that kind of sex, drugs, rock and roll up idea concept of knew that it was invented by the baby boomers is completely at odds with the experience of youth today. And I think that there’s a real sadness in that because you should be allowed to fail. You should be allowed to explore. You should be allowed to not feel that pressure because actually your youth is about getting things wrong and finding out [00:31:00] who you are.

[00:31:04] Claudia Romo Edelman: Edie, what really strikes me is reading the Edelman trust barometer, looking at how much of the world lives in these straws and how catastrophic that is for the world if we’re distrusting everything and everyone. And that to some degree is created by this incredible social media pressure of the, like me as much as we can so that I can have a renewal sense of self, popularity, perfection. But also that has an incredible connotation and relation, according to the Edelman trust barometer with governments and how politicians right now are no more centric and normal people, but they have to go to the extremes every time so that they can get more likes in social media and they can get more popular. The pressure that young people are facing honestly, is related to the business models of these companies that at some point it goes back to regulation and what we can be doing at it. I think that there is an incredible optimism in the voices that we heard, [00:32:00] but also an incredible amount of pressure that I hope that leaders that are listening to this podcast can take into consideration about how do we break that chain of distrust that so much is related to business models.

[00:32:13] Edie Lush: And what you’ve been saying about social media and the change and the pressure it puts also really relates to this changing nature of play and how children play and learn. And that was something that Eliza was also worried about.

[00:32:27] Dr Eliza Filby: Play has been curtailed for a number of reasons, the closure of public spaces, but also the shift of the middle-class parents into paid activities, supervised by parents, the unwillingness to allow children to play on their own and to oversupervise, helicopter parent their kids, play is about creativity and finding ones identity and exploring the world in a free, safe environment. And that, in an age of AI, when everyone say, if humans need to [00:33:00] outpace computers, what they need is creativity and imagination. And we’re actually turning our kids into robots when we should be actually turning them back into humans. So play is something that is absolutely needed in schools and as much in our streets and our playgrounds as possible, just because actually it will better prepare them for the 21st Century.

[00:33:21] Claudia Romo Edelman: This has been such an inspiring episode Edie, and you saved the best for last.

[00:33:27] Edie Lush: It was amazing to talk with Ibrahim Konde again, and I asked him about his family and friends back in Sierra Leone.

[00:33:35] Ibrahim Konde: I am in touch with people back home, and even this past summer, I didn’t go back home, but I was able to do something there back home, especially in that village, right. Access to job opportunities is really huge problem. There’s only one primary school and people have to walk this long distance to attend primary school. And after [00:34:00] primary school is most people it’s just like dropouts, or just continue being working in the farms and the mining sites. The only primary school that’s in the place has no toilet facilities for the kids. And those are kids from age 6 to 11 years old, and they have to walk all these long distances to school. And when they get to school they don’t have this healthy learning environment. You have to go to the Bush or walk distances to use just for toilet facilities. So I, my project was to build a structure, a toilet facility for the school and also to renovate the water system because there was no pure drinking water as well. So yeah, I was able to at least help just to a way to improve education, because I just believe that it’s only education with education that people can be able to move [00:35:00] from.

The step that there in to having a shot at becoming successful.

[00:35:09] Edie Lush: Pretty cool, right?

[00:35:12] Claudia Romo Edelman: This guy’s are amazing. We have to follow Ibrahim’s trajectory of the next decade Edie, because I know that he’s going to do great stuff in the world. And I do believe like what he believes. It’s only education that honestly can lift the entire generations to come up with so much optimism and people willing to go get it.

I think that having the tools is going to make a difference so that people can keep on doing projects and initiatives like Ibrahim.

[00:35:39] Edie Lush: It’s amazing because in the first episodes that we featured Ibrahim our focus was on the champions from UNICEF innovation who’d created these tools that Ebraheem used on his smartphone to get in touch with a lawyer, to get an education through UWC in Italy. And now he’s that champion. He got that [00:36:00] education. And now he’s the one who’s giving back, who’s going back to his village to helping lift up the kids. And even as he’s a young leader at the university of Oklahoma, so I am inspired by him and I’m inspired by everyone that we listened to as well as Dr. Eliza Filby.

And thank you to all of you and all of our partners for helping us get in touch with these incredible young people. Thank you and the audience for listening. And of course, like, subscribe, follow us on social media and stay tuned for more hopeful, inspirational stories in the fourth year of Global GoalsCast.

[00:36:40] Claudia Romo Edelman: Edie, it’s the fifth year. I know the time together feels like nothing, but it’s five years. But in reality, all of us are inspired by the stories of champions, making a difference so stay tuned and see you next time. Bye bye.[00:37:00]

[00:37:01] Michelle: Global GoalsCast was hosted by Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes. Editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooperrider. Music in this episode was courtesy of Universal Production Music. One of the world’s leading production music companies, creating and licensing music for film, television, advertising, broadcast, and other media, including podcasts. Original music by Neil Hale, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Krone and Andrew Phillips. This episode of Global GoalsCast is brought to you by MasterCard. Thanks also to CBS News Digital.

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