K8 Generation Z Spotlight #3: The Environment

Gen-Z Perspectives, Chief Editors: Kiran Johnson and Rosario Picone

"Your Generation" - By Kiran Johnson

‘Your generation will be the one to end this.’ Think about this phrase. Who is saying it? Who is the audience? What matter could it be addressing? What does it mean?

Everyone has a personal experience with this phrase, and as a member of Generation Z, I’d like to share mine.

Casually tossed around, this phrase is intended to set expectations and unconsciously place pressure on people. It’s been said to me by the generations above me and used when referring to a variety of issues in our beautiful world.

So, what does it mean? To me, it means that my generation is being handed a world with many unfixed problems. Not only that, but the prior generations are aware of these issues and have done nothing impactful enough to solve them. It feels like they’re giving up on finding a solution, and are instead relying on me. On Generation Z. We are inheriting dying a world.

‘Climate change is a crisis’. I hear people say that too, but not often enough. If it is a ‘crisis’, then why aren’t we changing our behavior? With every moving speech and heartbreaking article we read about our dying planet, the majority of us pause for only a few seconds, before continuing with our routine; on to the next Netflix binge or sitcom. Our intentions and words do not match our actions. It is proof that most of us are fully conscious of what we are doing to our planet. Yet we still lack the most important ingredient: action.

We’re approaching our planet’s 6th mass extinction, with dozens of species disappearing everyday. Each species that vanishes forever, threatens the survival of another species, as organisms are all tied together by our planet’s complex ecological web. Nearly 30-50% of species are heading towards extinction by mid-century. We’re nearing the point of no return where this chain of causality and web of interdependence will threaten our species.

Climate change increases the risk of natural hazards. More heat in the atmosphere and a warmer sea surface, provides the perfect fuel to generate more aggressive and harmful storms. Cyclones are already generating faster than they used to and becoming more powerful than before we tampered with our climate. Ecosystems will collapse as weather systems change drastically and heat waves will become much more frequent, further threatening the existence of many species, including us, humans. Whole countries will be flooded or submerged and our habitable zone will shrink.

If handing your children and grandchildren a world with nothing to live for isn’t incentive enough to change, then consider how you want to be remembered. Your legacy. We are all accountable, in some way, for stripping this planet of its beauty and ravaging its precious resources. We’re leeching everything out of it. This same planet, which we abuse and use, we grew up, made memories on, and have built our lives and families on. My generation has only experienced a slice of what it means to thrive in our planet’s nurturing embrace; and those who succeed Generation Z have yet to experience any of it. Will we continue down this shameful path, selfish enough not to share it with them? Or will we be remembered as the heroes of our planet?

In the end, there is nothing that won’t be affected by climate change: nothing is safe from its grasp. This isn’t an issue that we can put off any longer. This is happening now. It’s not a prediction for 20 years in the future.

This is right now.

What can you do to help us reverse this catastrophe? Spread the word. Do your research. Contribute to existing organizations which work to prevent climate change. Be conscious of how you’re affecting the environment with everything you do and take action to reduce your impact by buying local products. We need to make large corporations aware and convince them to care about their carbon footprint by talking to as many people as we can and growing our voice. Email your representatives (there are many email templates which you can find online- it only takes 2 minutes to fill one out) and email large corporations. We need all the generations to work together in order to save our beautiful planet. We need your attention, your motivation and your action.


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