Happiness doesn't come from stuff. I agree.
Dear Richard Branson,
I was delighted to read your latest blog post and know exactly what you mean when you say that stuff really does not bring happiness.
I entirely agree with you (as does decades of academic research!) that the way to be happy is to put family, friends, good health and making a positive difference above all else. Sadly, many teenagers are being sold a different line, causing problems that have shocked and troubled us. Our charity’s new campaign is in response to the desperate need to help young people overcome the onslaught of pressure to get rich and famous. This year we have visited hundreds of teenagers in schools across the country and the pressure they articulated to us is horrifying. We have captured some of their feelings in this video:
This pressure is greater than it has ever been. Teenagers are told to look like supermodels, have glamourous Instagram feeds and turn up to every occasion in a new outfit.
A recent survey found that 42% of 11-16 year old girls say they are ashamed about the way they look most of the time or often. And to make matters worse, as we face climate change, plastic pollution and habitat loss, it appears we are eating up the world to make products that make us feel worse, not better.
Launching in September, our new campaign will make it ok for young people to opt out of the false ‘way to happiness’ being peddled by reality stars and social media influencers.
We’re incredibly blessed to have great experts advising us and helping us to show the true way to happiness on screens for young people to see. We have a £100k grant for a team of young film-school students to shoot a film, which could be of interest to your son Sam.
Life is not about “Looks”, “Likes” and “Shopping”. Would you, or Sam, be willing to have a phone call to see if you might be able to help this campaign?
Co-director, Global Action Plan
Global Action Plan is working with young people to challenge the pressure to consume, highlight examples of lower impact lifestyles, and set their own vision for what a happier, more sustainable future might look like.
We are equipping the carers of young people to help in the efforts to build greater resilience to our toxic culture of looks, likes and shopping. We will guide them in how to teach young people strategies for a genuinely happier life.
We will also enable and provide the forums for young people to demand a culture that is good for them and good for the planet and call out where they see exploitation and manipulation by marketeers.