We Can the Change World While We Are Young

A Year That Will Live in Infamy, Maybe

As we enter this New Year, we face uncertain times economically, environmentally and socially. Leadership at this crossroads is paramount, and I believe young people and businesses in this country can put words into action and spur prosperous growth for our nation.

This is not the first time in America’s history where monumental problems emerged with far reaching consequences. Over 60 years ago, America was attacked by foreign powers that threatened the future of our country. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, our country was called into action, pulled together and unified by the common difficulties they faced.

To meet the challenges we face today, momentous buy-in is needed. A unified approach from the Northwest and Southeast, Democrat and Republican, domestic and foreign is needed to create authentic change. A shift from conventional business practices to more sustainable models has the unique ability to appeal to address our current problems: Job Creation, Environmental Consciousness, and Social Justice.

The Next Greatest Generation

Ronald Reagan said of the generation that fought in WWII “they saved the world while they were young.” During uncertain and trying times, Americans rallied together, sacrificed personal goals and found innovative ways to meet the present needs. This alliance resulted in pioneering technology such as recycling and creating more efficient manufacturing methods to conserve virgin resources. I believe the potential for our youth to change the world also holds true for the Millennial Generation.

The Pew Research Center reports that the top priorities of this generation are being a good parent, having a successful marriage, and helping others in need. A generation that cares about people, first and foremost, is a strong foundation from which progressive and revolutionary movements that will change the world can emerge.

Loose Lips, Sink Ships

Many businesses have seen the current economic and environmental crisis as an opportunity to leverage the good will of consumers for personal gain. Consumers must beware of charlatans that wave a flag of better business but lack the actually ability to produce sustainable solutions.

Business can lead the way with authentic value propositions for young and older consumers to be part of this call to action. We can either continue business as usual and suffer socially, economically, and environmentally or push companies to take a real stance in the development of sustainable business that can be universally beneficial.

A collective effort must be made by for-profit, non-profit, and governmental agencies to take an authentic look at common practices shaping our economy. Environmental waste and outsourcing of labor for the sake of margin alone must come to an end. We can employ Americans during this economic crisis while “Teaching a Man to Fish” methods abroad. They are not mutually exclusive ideas, but require that greed be replaced with smarter business practices, compassion, and a clearer holistic understanding of our world.

Uncle Sam Wants You! A Call to Action

Today, more than ever, we have a voice. We can yell from the rooftops with our credit cards, Facebook, and Twitter accounts to help shape our economy while empowering other nations to reconsider the global market place. Longevity and sustainability is the goal of this new way of doing business.

The Greatest Generation did an amazing job of bringing together people across borders and belief systems to overcome major obstacles present during WWII. Although the situation is different in many respects from what we are facing today, the vision remains the same: America can lead as an example of social, economic and environmental sustainability while aiding and empowering those in need.

The Millennial Generation has this opportunity, values and resources to make an incredible difference in the world today. We can change the world while we are young.


Chris Yura
Founder and CEO, SustainU
Morgantown, WV
January 2012