Youth vs. Apocalypse is a new non-profit with an interesting agenda. The organization’s website reads “They are a diverse group of young climate justice activists, working together to lift the voices of youth, in particular youth of color, and fight for a livable climate and an equitable, sustainable, and just world. Youth leaders are supported with networks, training, logistical assistance, and intersectional analysis in order to allow them to fight powerfully for themselves, their communities, and the planet.”
Youth vs. Apocalypse would be really interesting if it was truly established by “youth leaders”, but its quite clear that adults, and in some cases the parents of the teenagers involved, have convinced their kids to become young protestors. Then, the adults put the kids out to look like the face and the brains behind their actions. The process implies that the young people aren’t really doing this out of any self-directed critical thinking, problem solving process that can benefit them in the future.
But the most disturbing aspect of Youth vs. Apocalypse’s actions and style can be condensed to teaching kids how to make noise, but not make policy. It’s a far cry from the YMCA Youth & Government Program that I worked for while an undergraduate at The University of Texas at Arlington. What the YMCA Youth & Government Program did was teach students how government works, and the technics behind policy formation: how to write and lobby for legislation.
Rather than foster a respect for government, as the YMCA Youth & Government Program does, Youth vs. Apocalypse forms a disrespect for government, as witnessed in how they treated U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein.
Youth vs. Apocalypse Driven By Adults Hiding Behind Kids
Regarding the involvement of adults in Youth vs. Apocalypse, there was a recent post at a site called mightycause.com that was written to raise money for the non-profit. But the text revealed who they really need: “we need to hire another adult supporter who can help support youth at underserved schools to join this movement. You can help us uplift the voices of those who are often shut out of the conversation on climate to participate in climate actions. Your support is crucial to our efforts to build strength within communities and take action on local environmental issues.”
Translation: adults are the people who go out and recruit the kids to get involved in Youth vs. Apocalypse protest activities. So, it’s the adults who tell the kids there’s this climate problem, and the kids are convinced to join in.
Or take this entry at another website called Youth vs. Apocalypse OC (which means Youth vs. Apocalypse is not only in the San Francisco Bay Area):
“We have started an organization to empower children. We do free interviews with young adults and children that have something to say about their future and the future of the world and all of humanity. We have started a Not for Profit to unite parents and children alike to be pro active in shaping their destiny. We want to meet parents with children that are interested in the future of the world. What place will our children be in the world they will have to live in?
Life is change and if we don’t all get motivated we will all be the losers for ignoring the problems we face. Leaving what needs to be done to the government or your local cities is unrealistic. The problem has a time frame before we face massive change. We are producing media and a website for our organization and need people to help and support the project.
You can learn and share with your friends movies and information or you can call for more information and about meetings and help get this group organized – 714-910-4719 – We are parents of a 3 year old child and everyday we try to imagine the world he will live in. It scares us to know that if we do nothing he will not have the same future that we all have take for granted. The planet is currently facing an increasing number of environmental challenges, which include climate change, global warming, droughts, water scarcity, floods, and pollution. Children, as early as possible, should be aware of the environmental issues were facing. Our goal it to help all people and children tell their hopes and fears of the future and what can be done. Our group helps people broadcast and make media and distribute information from valid sources.
See? An adults, once again, seeking kids, driving Youth vs. Apocalypse.
While adults are driving Youth vs. Apocalypse, every effort is made to make the non-profit look as if it’s totally ran by teenagers. Take this video of the activities of Youth vs. Apocalypse:
Note that each step of the way, the makers of the video take every effort to let you know how young the Youth vs. Apocalypse participants are: from as young as 12 to no older than 17. But the professionally made video shows the financial involvement of The Ford Foundation as well as The David Rockefeller Fund. It’s a fair bet the kids didn’t write the proposals to get the support grants from those giant organizations – adults did.
Youth vs. Apocalypse Isn’t About Kids Thinking Critically, It’s About Recruting Protestors
The sad fact of Youth vs. Apocalypse is that it’s not about kids thinking critically, it’s about recruiting protestors. Ask yourself why Youth vs. Apocalypse doesn’t get involved in trying to come up with policy and technology solutions to the emissions problem? The kids could learn valuable skills in applied research, applied science, and math on the way toward suggesting ways that emissions can be reduced in current industrial jobs, rather than working to put whole industries out of business and people out of work just because they don’t like what they think the workers are doing.
By not adapting the direction I’ve suggested, what Youth vs. Apocalypse is doing is blocking their own students from the chance of landing valuable internships with elected officials and corporations who are sympathetic to the Youth vs. Apocalypse cause, like their ideas, and them.
What Youth vs. Apocalypse does is work to create a young generation that doesn’t understand how to get to “yes” in negotiations, or how to read technical documents, or how to conduct sound policy analysis. With Youth vs. Apocalypse, all they’re doing is learning the young version of the kind of mindless and bullying protesting the adults have done. The kids think that they only way to get their message across is to yell and scream and beat drums at elected officials like Senator Diane Feinstein. Kids learning true problem solving skills is not part of the Youth vs. Apocalypse agenda.
If Youth vs. Apocalypse were the kind of organization I assert it should be, the adults would show the young people what the problem is, and then how to form an idea for legislation, and then do research to back up that argument, then write the bill, and then present the bill idea to Senator Feinstein. That would have gone a much longer way than what the Youth vs. Apocalypse kids got: a viral video and a pissed off Senator Feinstein.
And even though they are, that’s nothing to brag about and everything to be ashamed of. Senator Feinstein is 84 years old. For Youth vs. Apocalypse to applaud and encourage being disrespectful toward her, and then makes news of it, looks to me like an attempt at elder abuse.
Youth vs. Apocalypse is teaching kids the kind of behavior that could harm their ability to gain meaningful employment in the future. They will grow up with the idea that they only way they can communicate is to flame someone online, or argue with them in public, or worse. They will not know how to understand them and find common ground and will find they’re doomed to a life as a second-class citizen.
Not even good community organizers do what Youth vs. Apocalypse does. Just ask the most famous one: President Obama. Youth vs. Apocalypse, in point of fact, is placing the adult in the roll of community organizer, but going after kids. So, even there, kids don’t learn anything except how to protest: how to grab a bull horn and yell at people and bang drums.
In other words, how to be a bully.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media