Global Warming and the Current Threats
Every new generation is more ambitious than the last one, often shaped by its state of affairs. Millennials are no different either. Millennials are reading and millennials are equally worried about global warming and the changing climate. Global organizations like the Pew Research Center and Deloitte in their perception studies found that young millennials perceive current threats of global warming as more urgent, pressing and real than the earlier generations. Dembicki (2017) in his work shows that present choices of conscious millennials are affecting industries that carry a negative image such as oil and gas industries. These industries are on the verge of losing projects worth over US $100 billion in the coming years. McKinsey also in their study found that 14% of millennials recognize the oil industry as dangerous and harmful to society. This indeed points to the fact that millennials are taking cognizance of their surroundings and opting for a more sustainable future. In developed countries like the US and Europe, a newfound sense of morality has helped in the generation of exigency associated with global warming and climate change. Unlike their parents and grandparents, millennials are most exposed to the risks and effects of global warming. Gallup analysis conducted in 2018 studied beliefs, attitudes, and risk perceptions of global warming across all ages found a “global warming age gap”. It was seen that 70% of adults between the ages of 18 to 34 were more worried about global warming when compared to 56% of those aged 55 or older. Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (Ballew, et al, 2019) also found interesting trends in the engagement of millennials with global warming on personal levels. Surveys in early 2019 showed a greater willingness among young millennials in contacting government officials to urge them to take action to reduce global warming and participate in climate activism.
Global Warming: Millenials and 2020 Presidential Elections
A large number of millennials will be eligible to vote and make political decisions and it seems like young Americans find global warming as an important voting issue (Ballew, et al, 2019). This will accelerate mitigation policies that often fall short due to botched negotiations at world forums. Recent political developments show that Young Republicans are most vocal in creating bipartisan support for stopping global warming. It has also been observed that younger Republicans are choosing to break away with their party base over differences in acceptance of scientific realities of global warming (Milman, 2019).
Millennials are also critical of the carbon emissions generated from their country which directly contribute to global warming. USA is one of the largest emitters of CO2 till 2006 and is currently in the number 2 spot only behind China. As per data, the USA emits huge amounts of methane which is a far more harmful Greenhouse Gas (Frohlich and Blossom, 2019). Policymakers and older generation climate activists have sensed this trend in millennials and are trying their best to engage them in more suitable roles. With newfound influence through recent policy debates and public engagements, millennials realize their power in shaping the future. Such commitments are inspiring more millennials to come forward and join voices, voices which they feel are important and match with their consciousness.
Global Warming and Mental Health of Millennials
Millennials today have a better understanding of the health impacts of global warming and its direct correlation to asthma, stress, vector-borne diseases, etc. but mental health is never a part of the discussion. In a groundbreaking report, the American Psychological Association (APA) highlights the effect of global warming and climate change on human health and psyche. The study critically discusses the impacts and implications of current climate change and global warming (Clayton et al, 2017). At times, millennials are confused at the state of the planet and are often perplexed with the global loss of biodiversity and destruction. With better information now available in their mobiles phone, millennials are more engaged than ever though this often causes a sense of powerlessness. Such eco-anxiety can cause a major impact on health leading to heightened aggression, violence, fatalism and intense feeling of loss.
Millennials: Role in Creating a Sustainable Setup
Millennials across the world and in the USA are taking tremendous steps towards sustainability. This consciousness has pushed for sustainability in brands across clothing, food, agriculture, and high-fashion. The choices of millennials are forming as one of the key drivers for engaging corporations and companies in becoming more responsible towards the planet and adopting sustainable businesses. Out of all generations, millennials are providing a renewed thrust to a stronger narrative towards the plastic-free agenda and taking up challenges such as zero waste initiatives.
Millennials and Veganism
Forbes (Rowland, 2018) recently reported how millennials have accelerated a global shift- from a meat-based to a more plant-based dietary system. Millennials are considering the source and impact of meat on the environment and weighing their choices against meat and dairy giants. Millennials also form the largest number of self-identified vegetarians. An article in the Economist (Parker. 2019) declared 2019 as the ‘Year of the Vegan’ and stated boldly ‘Where millennials lead, businesses and governments will follow’. This is big when we see global warming in terms of millennials and their impact.
Ain’t Having Kids
Yes, yup, you heard that right! Millennials across the world are deciding not to have kids. In America too, younger people are more likely to consider global warming before making a final decision on raising children. It seems like right now millennials consider environmental ethics more important than having kids in a polluted and adulterated world. A recent study also suggested that having fewer children will dramatically reduce annual personal emissions along with having no car, reduced air travel and eating a strict plant-based diet (Wynes and Nicholas, 2017)
- Ballew, M., Marlon, J., Rosenthal, S., Gustafson, A., Kotcher, J., Maibach, E. and Leiserowitz, A. (2019). Do younger generations care more about global warming? https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/do-younger-generations-care-more-about-global-warming/
- Milman, O. (2019). The young Republicans breaking with their party over climate change. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/11/we-can-talk-about-this-millennial-republicans-take-a-methodical-approach-to-climate-change
- Deloitte- Millennial Survey (2019). https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/deloitte-2019-millennial-survey.pdf
- Dembicki, G. (2017). Are We Screwed? Bloomsbury, USA. 320 pages
- Frohlich, TC and Blossom, L. (2019). These countries produce the most CO2 emissions. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/07/14/china-us-countries-that-produce-the-most-co-2-emissions/39548763/
- Clayton, S., Manning, C. M., Krygsman, K., & Speiser, M. (2017). Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, and ecoAmerica. https://www.apa.org/images/mental-health-climate_tcm7-215704.pdf
- Wynes, S. and Nicholas, KA. (2017). The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions. Environmental Research Letters, Volume 12, Number 7, IOP Publishing Ltd
- Parker, J. (2019). The year of the vegan. https://worldin2019.economist.com/theyearofthevegan
- Rowland, MP. (2018). Millennials Are Driving The Worldwide Shift Away From Meat. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpellmanrowland/2018/03/23/millennials-move-away-from-meat/#609deab1a4a4
- Coughlin, J. (2018). Millennials Aren’t Having Kids. Here’s Why That’s A Problem For Baby Boomer Real Estate & Retirement. https://www.forbes.com/sites/josephcoughlin/2018/06/11/millennials-arent-having-kids-heres-why-thats-a-problem-for-baby-boomer-real-estate-retirement/#44c307772058