Encouraging the younger generation to take charge and own the future of the planet, Pepsico's former CEO Indra Nooyi has said the youths have begun to shape the response to climate change and water security through their innovative thinking and appetite for risk.
"We witnessed a clear shift in the role the younger generations play. Rest assured, you not just have a voice, but that voice is being heard by the right people in the right place and in a way that is now leading to action," the 65-year-old Indian-American business executive said at the virtual 'Water and Climate Change: Risk and Resilience' event last week.
Nooyi underlined that with their innovative thinking, can-do attitude and appetite for risk, which many people in the older generations just don't have, the younger generation "has begun to act on and shape the response to climate, water security."
"I encourage you to take charge and own the future of the planet and the well being of your brothers and sisters around the world," she said at the event, organised by global non-profit organisation Safe Water Network.
Nooyi stressed that the magnitude of the combined challenges are much too great and the need for solutions is so urgent that there should be no territoriality for ideas on water and climate security.
"Every single one of us...has a role to play in solutions. There is a collective responsibility towards climate change, including corporate action. It requires leadership in government, and requires community action, and most importantly individual action," she said.
Quoting cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, Nooyi said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
She said every individual of the younger generation can be part of the solutions that are so desperately needed. "And I know in my heart that you will collectively find the solutions to make the world a better place."
She encouraged the young audience at the virtual event to come together and act.
"The world is yours. You're the younger generation. We're all stewards of the world for you so don't wait till you become our age to take over. Stand up, speak up and be counted," Nooyi said, adding, "All the things we do wrong with our generation, try to make it right."
Parameswaran Iyer, Global Lead, Strategic Initiatives at The World Bank's Water Practice, talked about the central role of youth in creating citizen's movement, according to a press release by Safe Water Network.
Recalling the role of young leaders in the Swachh Bharat Mission, Iyer described how the project was able to galvanize young people, especially women, to help address the issue of sanitation all across India.
He encouraged the youths to take risks and address global issues, saying, "You need to seize the moment. When an opportunity presents itself, don't let it go and never be afraid to take risks, particularly when you're young."
World Water Day was commemorated on March 22.
Safe Water Network is a global non-profit with 15 years of experience innovating and implementing small water enterprises (SWEs) in India and Ghana, providing access to more than 1.6 million people in over 500 communities with safe, affordable, and reliable water and demonstrating the potential of SWEs to reach millions of people in need of safe drinking water.