“Why is your generation so passive when it comes to climate change?”
Recently, this question was posed to me while I was in lecture. The person who posed the question, Jim MacNeil is a well know Canadian consultant, environmentalist and international public servant. MacNeil was a lead author on “Our Common Future”, a well known report that came out in 1987 from the World Commission on Environment and Development (or the Brundtland Commission). The report defines the term “sustainable development” and discusses how we as a society can develop sustainably as opposed to the unsustainable development practices of late.
During the lecture, he argued that our generation (20 something’s) did not seem to be interested in enacting change. He referred to the loss of sea ice in the Arctic in 1997 which was recorded as the record low. This question really affected me. Were we, as a generation apathetic towards climate change and the environment?
Some of the reasons that people in the class suggested for our passiveness included:
--- Today is not the same as the 1960’s- the 60’ was filled with different social movements, feminism, and environmental movement spurned on by Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”
--- The world is far more connected today due to the Internet- there is a dilution of information; there are so many different causes that people can only care about so many!
--- People are more interested in the economy and bettering themselves through economic development
--- NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) For the most part, climate change does not seem to affect us directly
--- Climate change is far too abstract...it seems like it is too large of a concept and we as a generation are too few to be able to enact and change
I agree with some of the points raised by my colleagues, but do you think we are indifferent towards climate change? I look forward to your opinions!