A generational call to action against climate change | August 5, 2022 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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Viewpoint - August 5, 2022

A generational call to action against climate change

by Zachary Meyer

If you were born after 1981, you are a part of the "Climate Generation" — the generation of people who have lived exceptionally aware of anthropogenic climate change. This generation has also grown up with unprecedented access to information and media, which has created a jaded and pessimistic group of people. The younger side of the Climate Generation, Generation Z, also exhibits the highest rate of depression, stress and anxiety of any generation.

Although they may seem apathetic, the Climate Generation is leading the charge when it comes to acting against climate change, whether by donating, volunteering or opposing regressive energy policies like offshore drilling, according to a study by Pew Research Center.

I am a part of this generation, having been born at Stanford Hospital in 2001 and lived my entire life in Menlo Park.

I have grown up passionate and with a desire to make an impact. By joining grassroots organizations, studying sustainability in college and living my life conscious of the environment, I do as much as possible. However, given that my generation is at the mercy of previous generations' stranglehold on financial and political capital, activism will only get us so far.

In 2021, people born after 1981 owned only 6.6% of the wealth in the United States. On top of this, only one senator and 39 representatives of the 117th Congress were born after 1981, a mere 7%. About 50% of the US population is under 40 or born after 1981. There is a severe lack of representation for the group of people most active about climate change, and there is far too little time for us to wait for "the great wealth transfer." It is up to older generations to pave a path that will allow future generations to thrive.

I ask that those outside of the Climate Generation please invest in youth-led grassroots environmental organizations and voice your support for innovative policies for building decarbonization, renewable energy and multimodal transportation infrastructure. If you are a politician, please also consider adopting these smart policies or pave a way for younger generations to gain more representation in politics.

Currently I am faced with reading reports of a future where coral reefs will decline by 99%, and the number of heat waves per year are expected to increase by four to eight times. I want a future I can look forward to. Right now, that future is in your hands!

Zachary Meyer graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School in 2019 and currently works as an intern at Menlo Spark.

Comments

Posted by John McKenna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 5, 2022 at 11:10 pm

John McKenna is a registered user.

Thank you for your viewpoint, Zachary. I, for one, hear your voice and share your concerns. I have an eight year old daughter and know that things have to change dramatically - business as usual spells trouble. I am learning what I can do as an individual to make a difference. Please keep using your voice for positive change - it has a powerful impact. I have hope for the future and am taking actions to do what I can to preserve a livable planet for my daughter, your generation, and future generations. And there are many others doing the same - the momentum is building and many of the solutions (which may not be perfect but are far better alternatives) that we need are available to be implemented now. This will not be easy, in fact it will be incredibly difficult, but is absolutely necessary and it can be done. The co-benefits of better health, greater equality, cheaper and more reliable energy, job creation (with a focus on creating new jobs for those in the fossil fuel industry), environmental and social justice, less animal cruelty, and a greater respect for the environment, just to name a few, are even more reasons for us to work together and put forth the effort needed. As Jane Goodall stated, "Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved.”


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