What Is the Most Important Issue Facing Youth Today, and Why?

Cogito is for young thinkers around the world. The Cogito Big Question series is designed find out just what young thinkers think. Chosen by Cogito members, the first Big Question is: 

What is the most important issue facing youth today, and why?

Answers are open to all users. Don’t be shy! Submit your answer by sending a message to cogitocty@jhu.edu, and your response will be posted below. Please include your first name and country.


“The environment, without a doubt.” The people in power now borrowed the earth from their children – and now that’s us. Young people today will decide the world we live in tomorrow, and that means sustainable energy, ecologically friendly lifestyles, and living peacefully with our little blue planet! — Emer, Carlow, Ireland

“I think time management is a huge issue for today’s youth.” Between school and work and studying and spending time with family and friends, most people have packed schedules. They’re expected to perform to the best of their abilities, and put effort into all that they do, but the truth is many teens today do a lot. If we can learn to prioritize and learn good time management skills, it’ll only help us in the future. Yes, it will be a challenge, but it’s a lifelong skill as well. — Amisha, Trumbull, CT, USA

“I agree that the most important issue facing today’s youth is the environment, especially the problem of global warming.” While species extinction, overfishing, acid rain, urban sprawl, expanding landfills, and the hole in the ozone layer are serious problems, global warming is the most immediate. It is our generation that will have to either halt and reverse greenhouse gas emissions or face the inundation of our coastal cities as the world’s ocean levels rise with melted ice from the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves. — Edward, Livonia, MI, USA

“Without a doubt, it is time management.” Many students have the burden of honors or advanced placement classes piling homework on their shoulders. Memberships in clubs, societies, sports, music groups, and other extracurricular activities take up time, not to mention the Friday night parties and, if you pardon my language, “Family Fun Nights.” Indeed, even good time management cannot save you in a situation where you are a top student with academic and social obligations. In the end, students have a lack of zzzzzz’s, leading up to a common situation.
“Welcome to Starbucks!”
“Just give me some coffee, please.”
Arpan, West Virginia, United States

“I think that when we talk about the youth the answer should be more general than specific.” Environment is certainly a problem that we face today but only a minor population does think about it. The real challenges that a youth faces is certainly how will he/she will able to survive in this world, getting a good job, earning money and reputation. This I speak considering the fact that it is a natural human tendency to first secure his future and think about himself before looking at a broader perspective like environment. — Aman, New Delhi, India

“I believe the most important issue that young people today face is that we live in a drug-ruled world.” Now I’m not talking all about illegal drugs or even legal drugs that are being abused (although that is a large part of the problem). What I am talking about is ever since we were young if we got sick we went to the doctor and they gave us a drug. Every time we sneezed outdoors we got allergy drugs. There are drugs for almost anything that you could possibly need (or want). So now as our young people age and begin to make their own decisions about life they find it so easy just to get the drug for whatever they need. Whether it be sickness or wanting to perform their best in athletics, drugs just seem to be the answer. I’m not implying that everyone of us is going to become a drug addict, but what I am saying is that the temptation is there for us, we have the mind set, and all we need is one moment of stupid to drastically change our lives forever. — Monica, West Des Moines, Iowa, USA

“I think the most important issue facing youth is the mentality that being young is the reason one is unable to make a difference within one’s community or even the world.”In order to remedy this issue, I think it is important that youth see examples of other kids doing just this. We as youth have so much ability, potential, and influence (a lot of us just don’t know it!). — Sammy R. Palo Alto, California, USA

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