On Friday, thousands of youth will descend on Rogers Arena for the third annual We Day in Vancouver. The free event was launched in 2007 and celebrates the power of young people to create positive change.

Speakers this year include Martin Sheen, Rick Hansen, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Gore, who will speak about the issues that threaten the planet.

Metro asked Craig Kielburger, co-founder of We Day, about the impact today’s youth will have an on environmental sustainability.

How is this generation of kids going to set the tone for caring for the planet for future generations?

“Fifteen years ago, we rarely heard about interconnectivity. The challenges facing the world were seen as individual threats — the environment, poverty, human rights. Young people (today) understand if we want to tackle these problems we have to see them as inextricably linked.

“I often speak with young people who have just returned from Kenya. They see firsthand that global warming, a product of our lifestyles in the industrialized world, is causing droughts and unpredictable rains. They also realize that by making small changes in their daily lives and taking a holistic approach to development, their impact can go much further. By recognizing the interconnected nature of our world, this generation will lead us into a better future.”