BTS speaks at the United Nations on the environment and our future
Powerhouse k-pop boy group BTS recently delivered a speech at the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Moment and even added a little funk and soul by performing their new English single “Permission to Dance” at the UN. The Boys with Luv reflected on the past two years in the context of the pandemic and environmental challenges, and how young people are responding with hope and pushing forward. The presentation left an impression of the importance of the youth in the environmental movement and reminded us that in the face of adversity, we should remember the community around us working towards solutions for our planet and future generations.
To begin their address, they shared responses they received from teens and people in their 20’s when asked about their experiences in the past two years and the world they find themselves in now. The pandemic suddenly cancelled and pushed back important events, such as graduations, school entrances, and even BTS’s world tour. Although frustrating, rapper Suga noted that it forced us to reflect on how moments were previously taken for granted and the importance of remembering that every second of our lives is precious.
When answering their question of how the past two years have been, a common response among fans was to share pictures of special moments. There was a trend in these photos as Jimin shares, “Many people showed how they share their moments with nature, I think during these two years they found dear the time they experienced and care for nature.”
Spending time with loved ones and in nature reminds us how important it is to take care of one another, and that togetherness can get us through dark times.
The Bangtan Boys go on to explain how the challenges facing our planet can elicit feelings of gloom and despair in that it feels impossible and impending. However, young people provide a light at the end of the tunnel as leader RM shares, “I learned while preparing for today that there are many young people who have an interest in environmental issues and choose it as their field of study.”
The future is unknown, but it is crucial to remember we are not alone in this movement and that there are young people interested in finding answers for the future.
A big discussion in the environmental movement is how we should view and communicate the climate crisis. One way to present climate change is a doom and gloom approach that focuses on impending danger. The intention is to call people to action out of fear but this can become overwhelming causing hope to be lost as it appears there isn’t anything we can do. Dancer V speaks to remaining hopeful and pushing forward in our search for solutions while still keeping in mind the looming effects of climate change by saying:
“These young people were searching for the answers to the question of how we must live that future. So I hope we don’t just consider the future as grim darkness. We have people who are concerned for the world and searching for the answers. There are still many pages left in this story about us, and I thought we shouldn’t talk like the ending’s already been written.”
The Welcome Generation
We should be able to find solace in community when working towards a brighter and greener future for our planet home. It is important to remember that young people are part of this community and provide a necessary foundation of ambition and inspiration to go on. Singer Jin puts it well by calling for a change in labels, “instead of the Lost Generation, a more appropriate name would be the Welcome Generation because instead of fearing change, this generation says welcome and keeps forging ahead.”
There is no one better to be speaking on the importance of youth and community than BTS as their fanbase is a striking example of community building. BTS stans, called ARMY, are consistently coming together to support the boys by breaking records, selling out venues, and sharing their music online. They have fans all over the world and of all ages, which is why it is so important they are speaking up on these issues as they hold a wide reach and are looked up to by many. Their music often speaks on positive messages, such as loving yourself, reflecting on what we want from life, and being your authentic self. It is a powerful message for their actions outside of their music to fall in line with the values in their lyrics.
Delivering their speech smooth like butter, the boys spotlighted the younger generation and showed how integral they are to finding solutions for the world. After all, younger people will be the ones to inherit our planet home. Their use of their platform allowed this important message to reach millions and increase education on the matter. BTS’s speech calls on us to keep trying and pushing forward in the face of adversity and remain hopeful. RM summarizes it best when he says “there may be choices we make that might not be perfect, but that does not mean there is nothing that we can do.”