Throughout our lives, starting in elementary school, Millennials and Gen Z-ers have been perpetually spoon-fed the bitter news that the world is falling apart. As children, we sat quietly on carpets, staring up at projector screens displaying a world on fire, while our teachers informed us that soon, this broken world would be our burden to bear.
This ideology has followed us as we’ve grown older, though the responsibility we have inherited to save the planet has only become more daunting as the problem of global warming has continued to expand.
We teenagers and twenty-somethings don’t make up the population of wealthy oil tycoons, private flyers, gas guzzlers, clear-cutters, and Fortune 500 companies that comprise the primary sources of the Earth’s environmental deterioration. As a result, we may begin to feel that we have no power to make a change, no matter how much we compost or how many times we opt to bike to class rather than drive.
We’re right to be frustrated at our lack of power to ignite change, though our passive state isn’t permanent. As we gain experience and education, we gain power, authority, and agency. As the next few decades roll on, it’ll finally be our time to determine how the Earth ought to be cared for. Perhaps our upbringing, characterized by the environmental crises of the 21st century, will prevent us from slipping into the same poor environmental habits that our parents and grandparents fell into.
Let us learn from their mistakes and consider the long-term effects of our choices. If we are successful, hopefully, our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren after that won’t have to stare up, fearfully, at the same burning world that we did.
Copy Editor (Volume 49) — River is completing a specialist degree in Political Science with special interests in social justice and law. He is currently working as a copy editor at The Medium. In his spare time, River can usually be found noodling on his guitar, obsessively replaying “Red Dead Redemption 2,” dipping into local thrift stores, and flipping through worn paperback fiction instead of doing his course readings.