(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Whitney High School

Change Starts with Awareness

Ironically, in an era where everyone seems to be perpetually glued to their cell phone screens, many people these days are not aware of current events, much less what is going on in their own community. Knowledge and wisdom were once considered an esteemed privilege, and now that people have begun to take education for granted, the world is raising an individualistic, narrow-minded generation of people indifferent to the world around them.

Awareness has long been a powerful benefactor in reform movements but as our society becomes increasingly desensitized, only catastrophic events draw us to the news and only in those circumstances are we slightly informed. It is as if the significance of an event is now measured by the number of deaths or injuries.

Being politically, socially, and culturally aware are incredibly crucial as these are the things that affect us all on a day to day basis. Government and economy are just a few of the institutions that entirely shape the way we live.

Many adolescents feel that due to their age, they cannot make a difference until they are eligible to vote. However, being ineligible to vote should not stop us from being spatially aware in terms of local legislations, federal procedures, world news, etc.

For those who can vote, many have the misconception that their single vote will not turn an election or that the results will not directly affect them. This type of outlook stems from the long withstanding detrimental mindset that “ignorance is bliss.” This type of mentality leads to destructive, unwarranted reforms. Take Brexit, for example, where millions of UK citizens voted to leave the European Union without taking into account the severe consequences of such a split.

For youth, getting more involved may seem difficult, but even the smallest things can make a difference. It can be reading credible newspapers/websites, watching the nightly news, or even following a few news accounts on your social media. As youth, we may not be able to always volunteer our time or vote, but we can always strive to be well-educated and aware of the world around us. Because after all, as Eckhart Tolle said: “Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”