An academic analysis of surveys spanning more than 40 years has found that today's young Americans are less environmentally conscious than older generations were when they were young. Researchers who conducted the study found that of the three young generations surveyed — Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials — the generation that showed the greatest disinterest in environmental protection was millennials. Fifteen percent said they had made no effort to help the environment, compared with 8% of young Gen Xers and 5% of young Baby Boomers.
Although these numbers are disconcerting, the results do not come as a shock. There is a widespread refusal amongst my generation to recognize the world's problems. Millenials are the products of the internet age, a time that endorses apathy and greed. Natural resources are being negligently abused for personal gain every day, and people continue to mistreat the Earth.
In my opinion, the simple reasoning behind this growing issue is that people don't want to sacrifice convenience or abandon the comfortable lifestyle that the internet has created. Only when the “outside world” intrudes upon the self-interests of a society do we see a radical response from the public. In other words, action is predominantly reactionary.
Information can be accessed by the click of a button. We can scour the web and find different ways to entertain ourselves. Inventions have certainly helped us make breakthroughs in all different fields, but at what cost? We slip further away from our roots and traditions as our society continues to develop and grow.
Human nature dictates that individuals have an insatiable appetite for self-improvement, a desire to modernize. But this ambition is slowly sucking the life out of the Earth, draining it dry of its riches. Where there were once lush forests, now stand the metropolitan cities of the world. Oceans have become toxic waste dumps. The emission of greenhouse gases has poisoned our air. The environment is in absolute disarray, and yet millenials still remain uninterested.
My generation grew up in the technological age -- we are familiar with it. Therefore, we express concern for the environment, but we cannot connect and relate the same way past generations have. We prioritize more immediate issues that directly affect us now like student debt and the economy.
We have seen the potential of the millennial generation through the Occupy Movement and the Kony 2012 videos. There is power in their voices and change can arise when these voices combine forces. But in order for this to happen, we must get our generation interested. It is important now more than ever.