Millennial Youth to Take Over America’s Environment?

Going green — By on October 29, 2008 at 10:53 am
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Generation WE: The Movement Begins

Generation We is new to me. Have you heard of it? It’s the Millennial Generation of Americans born between the years 1978 and 2000. They are being hailed as the next “greatest generation.” I take just a little offense to that statement, being GenX myself.

In an effort to mobilize, organize and propel Generation WE to their world changing destiny, author Eric Greenberg has launched a new website and video created by award winning producers. They accompany his book Generation We: How Millennial Youth are Taking Over America and Changing our World Forever.

Well, good for them. Really. It’s a dirty job that no one else wants to take responsibility for, so I suppose they’re welcome to it. I’m not bitter. My oldest daughter was born in 1999 (I’m not that old, you know) so she is one of them. A world changing Gen-We kid. I believe she could single handedly change the world. She’s planning on it already. So I’m going to try to put my GenX pessimism aside.

Here’s what Greenburg has to say about the video that has made quite a splash:

As this video shows, those of the Millenial Generation are optimists. They see beyond party lines and partisan politics and much more concerned with ideas that help the greater good….They want to protect the environment, lower the federal deficiet, create affordable health care and reduce our dependence on foriegn oil, all issues that already affect Democrats and Republicans alike.

Hey! I want all those things too! Don’t we all? I have always been able to see across party lines. I’m greening up all over the place. Affordable health care? Heck yeah.

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The Millenial Generation

Well, the goal is good. I love what Greenburg is trying to put into action for the youngsters (there’s a word I’ve never used before).

His website Gen-we.org serves as base camp for the Generation We Movement. A non-partisan stop for information and activism for the newest generation of voters. Greenburg hopes that young people will put their newfound political power to good use and help our country achieve energy independence the clean green way.

Here’s the video that Launched the Generation We Movement:

Wow. I’m kind of inspired here. Did you see that? I think they really are different, more diverse and (hopefully) less selfish and greedy than the generations before them. I’ll drink the Kool-Aid they’re passing around.

It does seem unfair to sweep GenX under the rug and chalk us up as the lemon generation of the century. Really. It’s not like we’re all still sitting around wearing flannel listening to Pearl Jam like it was 1993. We have moved on. Just because GenX looked at reality and declared it bites, doesn’t mean we aren’t doing our to make it better. Apparently, we are lacking in numbers. We aren’t organized, but that is mostly because we see through leaders who are driven by their own interests. And that pretty much covers everyone.

And what happened to GenY? And who comes up with these designations? And shouldn’t we all just work together? You know, crossing generational gaps to save the world from the consequences of greed now in our face?

Is it the fault of the Baby Boomers as implied in the video? I spoke to one of those Boomers recently and he said, “no one really cares about air quality and global warming. They are just looking for a way to make money off of it.” I do wonder if others in his generation feel that way.

It doesn’t really matter which generation changes the world. It just matters that the job gets done. Don’t you think? Truthfully, I think the world IS changing.

Right here, right now, there is no other place I want to be.

Come on, I had to do it!

What do you think of Generation WE? Are they all that and more?

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41 Comments

  1. Although I have two children who fit into the “Generation We” category, who I think are amazing, after watching that video I only hope that their progress will not be hindered by their pride.

  2. Amy says:

    Yes, they do appear confident, don’t they? I agree, I hope it doesn’t become arrogance. It is so easy for people at that age to think they know everything!It’s tough to change the world before you really understand what you’re up against.

  3. name says:

    How is this any different from the children of the 1960s and 1970s?

    These same people will all sell out for nice cars.

  4. James Mason says:

    Someone needs to take it over before its way too late!.

    JIff
    http://www.online-anonymity.kr.tc

  5. brad.tittle says:

    Or to know when changing it is a bad idea.

  6. Jasper says:

    The world used to change maybe once every 20 years or so.
    Now it changes every day…

    Maybe that’s part of the problem..

  7. Aaron says:

    So, I’m 23. I’m definitely part of this age group you’re discussing, and I really, truly, honestly think we ARE different. I don’t think it’s necessarily “arrogance,” although it sometimes comes off as such. During this election cycle, my eyes have really been opened to the HUGE generational gap between the millenials/gen-y/we whatever you want to call it and the boomers. Gen-X is there too, and they’re more oriented towards the youth, but you hit the nail on the head with lack of organization. Technology and the spread of information is why we have such an edge. (Arrogance? …or just a fact?) We really are more globally oriented and diverse. I, and many of my friends, have studied abroad or have international friends. Some of my best friends live in South America and the U.K. And as far as tolerance goes… I can’t speak for everyone, but I live in Texas, and there is a lot of racist, selfish, environmentally insensitive, and just plain backwards stuff going on. My peers feel out of place, but we are growing in numbers and influence. Will we change the world? I hope so.

  8. I’m a boomer. I think Generation We is different. Have you read the book the Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe? I just did a webcast on how different generations (Generation We, which i call Net Gen, Gen X and boomers) differ in their approach to technology. You can watch the webcast at: http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/webcasts.asp
    More info at http://www.whatmakesyouclick@blogspot.com

  9. Dan says:

    Extreme things are accomplished by those that have the confidence to achieve them. Reality has to set in, but if it consumes you then you won’t accomplish anything forward thinking.

  10. Dan says:

    It takes confidence to achieve great things. Reality must set in, but it can’t be a consuming factor or those great things will never be achieved. Just because age groups were defined doesn’t mean you can’t be part of it.

  11. Kyle says:

    Not to rag on you, Amy, but it’s people with that attitude that threaten to break our (gen-we) stride. What you guys seem to be missing is that these aren’t the beginning symptoms of arrogance; granted, right now, most of Gen-We is at an age where it’s easy to become immersed in shallw thought because one lacks real-life experience, but We see the world that’s been created by past generations of blatant ignorance and deviously selfish motives, in every sector, and it’s sickening. Proof of point is the comment made by the interviewed Boomer, “no one really cares about air quality and global warming. They are just looking for a way to make money off of it.” That’s the prevailing attitude, as it seems to me. Everyone is out for themselves, but with skyrocketing populations and ever-diversifying peoples, these models of thought will only drive our country and the entire world straight into the ground. I can’t speak for all of Gen-We but all I can dream for is equality and the flowering of an enlightened civilization. Things don’t have to be the way they are, as your attitudes convey. We don’t have to settle, and We won’t. The next 50 years are going to be the most progressive yet, economically, socially, and politically.

  12. spartan415 says:

    looks like i fall into that category and i have to say the whole youth are green thing is actually really true.i a senior in high school and our recyclying club at school is the largest club on campus and we have a decent sized school at 3000 students about 250 of those students are recycling club members or are in the AP environmental science class offered at school. i guess watchung captain planet paid off huh???
    =]

  13. Brenden says:

    I’ve done some reasearch on the baby boomers in the ’60s, and my generation (yup, I’m a generation We- born in 1991) seems to have some similar concepts that they did back then. It’s because in both cases, the Gov’t has decided to stop listening to the people, and quite frankly we’re tired of it.

    Kudos to Generation X for Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots (three of my fave bands) :]

  14. kristin says:

    Since when have Americans ever let not understanding what they’re up against hinder them!?!?! I say, kudos, it’s about time we all try and band together to actually do something about the enviroment.

    The economic crisis will soon pass. The enviromental one has no end yet in sight…

  15. Kushal says:

    Being apart of “gen-we” i would say that yes we can change the world; but i will agree with amy; that most people in my gen don’t really understand what they are up against and how the world works.

    the world is changing, and in 20-25 years, it will be a completely different place; but lets go back, didn’t people in the 50′s say that about the generation of kids that led the “hippie” era?

    the world changed back then as well; some aspects drastically, but for the most part; the world is how it was.

  16. Edward Guidry says:

    As a member of this generation, I will say this. We are the world’s soldiers. We are the Scion’s of the World’s history. Her Victories and her blunders. If not us, who else will fix our past failures? Our predecessors failed and if we fail, it may be too late. The onus is on us. Support us in this and all admirable causes we undertake. WE(all of us, everywhere) cannot afford less.

  17. Free Ads says:

    The first test of We Generation is on Tuesday. What percentage are going to vote. Is it going to be more than ever in American Politics? We will find out. This is their first, they have to pass this test to prove that they are a force to reckon with. I hope they will pass with flying colors.

  18. Gary says:

    Wow, I was really excited by this… until I realised that Gen-WE actually only applies to americans it seems? More globally orientated? Really? Free from foreign oil dependance? Come on guys, what about the global issues??? Africa anyone?

    This could have been so cool, EPIC even on World scale… when will americans realise (yes with an “s”) they’re not the only ones on this planet?

    So close, yet so far…

  19. Who comes up with these designations?

    Its always up for debate :) Strauss and Howe did a great deal of work studying generational cycles – if you’re interested you should check out some of their writing to see this social pattern that seems to extend back hundreds of years.

    I’m somewhere in the first wave of millennials (1982), and I definitely don’t think Gen-X was a lemon! I guess I was still old enough to go to the concerts and parties (thank you fake ID) so I enjoyed some of the more cynical hedonism associated with the idea of “The world sucks and there’s nothing we can really do to fix it.”

    If there had been no consensus that “reality bites,” there wouldn’t be a later generation more dedicated to changing it. Oh, and Gen-X music is a hundred times better than what we’ve got to offer. No offense to my fellow millie-musicians: I blame the record companies run by boomers!

  20. Th only problem with our Government is their failure to listen to The Lord Jesus Christ and follow what he says to do. The fault of this lies on the people that don’t pray before they vote. And of course there are the Super Delegates who get to tell us who we can and can’t vote for because we American’s can’t think for ourselves.

    Fix That First.

  21. Reno says:

    The small movie was made to show confidence because confidence is attractive to others. It was made to get others to believe that they can truly make a difference. The fact that you see that as arrogance and not a simple marketing tactic shows your insecurity. I’ve been reading a lot about my generation, the millennials, and everything is simply coming into place. Any generation faced with these problems would react the same way. People aren’t as unique as they seem, the “Greatest Generation” could have been any modern generation if put into the same shoes. It’s all a matter of timing.

  22. GeologyJoe says:

    Well not for nothing but it’s GenX who are raising the Gen-We into adulthood. So we (GenX) do have major input.

    So GenX’ers don’t quit now, we have work to do.

  23. Sky says:

    I am one. Pride? Try hope. We inherited the mess that our forefathers handed to us. The generation before us ran the country into the ground by being satisfied with whatever happened as long as it didn’t affect their bottom line. Now look at our country, people are just now coming to see whats going on after 8 years with one of the worst presidents in history, and even then the only reason this presidential race will be even close is because so many of us have reached the age to vote. I am glad you are trying to do your part to help out, but if the generations before us had done their part when it was truly needed we would not be in this mess in the first place.

  24. F says:

    I was born in 1990, and to me it seems like a lot of my generation’s thinking are based on forms of brainwashing through the mass media. I’m not talking about conspiracy theories, we just pick up what we hear about. We hear about environmental issues, and ‘Oh no, we need to fix the environment! Quick, everyone recycle!’ thinking patterns arise. Most of the issues they talked about in that video are very obvious and we’ve grown up with them being discussed daily. Hell, most of my life has been under the ‘global warming’ crisis (which I noticed people starting to talk about around 10 years ago), and with that kind of intense input it’s hard to not be worried about the future of the environment, or other issues that we hear about daily.

    I do feel the confidence that others have mentioned that the video displayed, though. We have some tough years ahead, but I’m not worried about the future, I’m actually looking forward to the challenge. Another greatest generation? Hell, maybe. I think it’s more likely that the crises of the world ‘coincidentally’ line up with our generation’s adult years. The generations are defined by crises and major events like that, so it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. We really have no choice but to fix these things because the older generations aren’t doing anything about them.

    We’re not THAT much different from previous generations. For example, politicians will always be politicians. I think we’ll see a change in the two party system.. at least a change from democrats/republicans being the two major parties. However, the general mass of millennials are still brainless lemmings. The people who change the world will always be exceptional. I’m getting a communal spirit vibe from the video though, and this seems to reflect what I’ve seen in high school and college where people recognize that they are part of a bigger group. In my high school, cliques were never exclusive. Everyone could potentially be friends with everyone. So far it seems to be the same in college. I don’t know what high school/college was like for other generations so I can’t compare, but they both seem to be different from the images of them I had growing up. Anyway, the communal ideologies could be our defining trait- everyone puts something in, everyone gets something out. I could see this going wrong in many ways, but hopefully we’ve had enough time to analyze the past to prevent certain mistakes.

    I’m done rambling.

  25. good for them. fuck the baby boomers. they created this mess.
    http://sativacyborg.com/?p=10

  26. pride? how about frustration and feeling utterly betrayed by the boomers. at every opportunity they cut and ran. allowed decisions to be made by proxies. chose not to get involved and gave authority to greed and evil. sold their souls to comfort, laziness and ignorance by avoiding responsibility and duty. greed over all else. allowing the gift the founders gave us to de-evolve from a promising democratic social experiment into a plutocratic polyarchy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyarchy

    and today you choose to label our desperate calls for change as kool-aid swilling “arrogance”.
    we’ll see where your cynicism gets you in 2015 when social security starts to runs out of steam. we’ll see how far your hubris carries you when the reality sinks in that the american dream has been stolen while under your watch.

  27. Bess says:

    Wow, I was really excited by this… until I realised that Gen-WE actually only applies to americans it seems?

    It’s a little hard to take the American spin off of a piece written about America’s GenWe. When will everyone realize that GenWe KNOW we’re not the only ones on this planet? It’s part of what sets us apart from our previous generations.

  28. Yata says:

    The generational theory that ‘spawned’ the millennials is based on American history anyway. The theory is US-centric, the people aren’t.

  29. hahahaGenWe! says:

    uhm… did anyone else notice that the video talks about “the youngest of us” reaching voting age in 2016? Let’s see, 2016-18… 1998? The math doesn’t add up. But math illiteracy aside, I can agree with the pride being very evident in the video, and for what? ‘Cause your parents decided to have sex when they did? All this generational crap has been, and always will be dumb.

    The “Boomers” didn’t really do a whole lot, good or bad. Neither did “Gen-X” (except, as the joke goes, they also bitched about not doing a lot the whole time). All this “screw the boomers, they made this mess” is painfully naive. And this rallying around some fictional generational construct sickens me to my very core. There is no “Great Generation” and never will be. Generations are fabricated divisions of time, not cultural or social movements. _Successful_ Socio-political movements have always involved a very diverse collection of people, not just one group, whether it’s a group of race, age, or nationality.

    Rarely have I seen such ridiculous propaganda. The only thing that kept me from rolling on the floor laughing was that I’m at work.

    P.S. oh, and Marcus, you may be a decent wordsmith, but words are only pretty if they mean something. You bile-spewing at a fictional time division demeans no one but yourself. And if you did a little research with the passion that you seem to hate with, you’d realize that the American Dream was long gone before your parents where ever a twinkle in your grandparents’ sex-craved eyes. dumbass.

  30. ntopics says:

    Finally, a generation who will have ideas
    and motivation to clean up after polluters.
    Why so late? Better late then never.

  31. “dumbass.” ha! didn’t take long to de-evolved did it?

    your first three paragraphs aren’t particularily coherent. your main point seems to be that generational distinctions are artificial. this is incorrect. i’m not sure how much sociology you’ve studied but there are distinctly quantifiable variances between generational groups. in fact there is so much empirical evidence to support this that i’m actualy taken aback. psyche 101 dictates that we are least partial products of our environments. you maintain that defined characteristics can’t be attributed to a given generation, let’s just nip this one in the bud shall we. prior to this most recent election, karl rove announced that mccain cold win if they could just stop the young people from voting. do you honestly believe that any prior generation would have a elected a black man as the president of the country?

    regarding, your last paragraph. firstly don’t patronize me with your fake bs. in my words i alluded to events and actions that that do in fact “mean something”, touch up on your reading comprehension next time:
    - “at every opportunity they cut and ran.”
    - “allowed decisions to be made by proxies.”
    - “chose not to get involved and gave authority to greed and evil.”
    - “sold their souls to comfort, laziness and ignorance by avoiding responsibility and duty.”
    one could almost write a book about each of these themes.

    i have no hatred. only frustration and anger. whereas hatred distorts and warps, anger is a great primal motivator and can be an almost endless source of energy.

    i’ve addressed your alleged “fictional time division”. the American dream started to die with madison’s tutelage at the constitutional congress of 1787. it has suffered gradual erosion ever since. but never such a regimented attack as under the watch of the boomers. the feca act of 1971 opened the doors of washington to pac’s and lobbyists. today we have over 35,000 lobbyists and 10,000 pac’s. the revolving door policy in our government means that the heads of the fda, epa, doe, treasury, fdic, etc all come from the corporate sector. our government is a government of the corporations, for the corporations by the corporations. this is the greatest single threat to our republic and most of the damage has happened in the last thirty years. while there’s plenty of blame to go round, the majority of the burden lies with the boomers because unlike prior generations they had access to electronic media and choose to ignore it. the previous generations relied upon pony express, paper or narrow spectrum wireless for their information. the boomers had access to it all and choose to turn a blind eye while their government poisoned everything.

  32. adam says:

    Please don’t be offended by my statements written on this blog.
    My concerne is for you the x-generation that believes change is free education, healthcare, and sharing the wealth with the unworthy, whom are to lazy to work. Blame the baby bommers for all the greed and evil, but I as one will not put this financial burden fo our mistakes on my children and their children. Also, as a grandparent and baby boomer I thank God everyday for the oppounity to have lived in a free nation run by the people and not the government. In closing remember that material things can be replaced but freedoms can’t, once lost it shall never be regained.
    God Bless.

  33. James says:

    Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…

  34. Cheyenne says:

    I myself and a Millennial and I am doing a paper on my generation. I really do think we can change the world. I do not think that we are to solely blame the baby boomers or the gen-xers. I think it has been a build up over time. But it is time for change and why not us?

  35. Stephanie says:

    Indeed, why not? Cheyenne, good luck on your paper! Stephanie

  36. As a rather disenfranchised GenX’er, I’m ready for new solutions. Maybe the new perspectives of generation WE will contain some wisdom we’ve overlooked. At least I hope so. The current political and economic systems really need to be overhauled.
    Interesting article.
    -Mike

  37. Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”.

  38. Being apart of this “we” generation I have a few comments (like anyone). First of all before this video and before reading this post I had no idea of any of this. I doubt any one of my friends do either, I’m definitely not a disengaged citizen, so this leaves me asking… Is this just another marketing scandal? To get other generations to invest in America’s young; to get the older people to actually listen to the inexperienced and pay out money “for bettering our society”. If so – this is a genius plan.

  39. David says:

    I was born in 1979, which makes me one of the first of the millenial generation, and I have to make a point – there ARE generational differences. For example, most millenials (especially the women, whose homophobic population numbers less than that of young men) support same – sex marriage, the abolition of gender roles (as shown in “Star Trek”), and ending pollution. How many of the Silent Generation (those born before the end of World War Two) would support these causes (especially the first two mentioned)? Of course, there are exceptions (someone born in 1945 may support gay marriage), but IN GENERAL, the millenials are the most progressive generation in history.

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