Are Millennial Voices the Answer to the Climate Fight?

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Radha Adhar, Program Assistant, Washington, DC

I was born in 1986. Which makes me a member of the millennial generation.

I want be a source of information for youth who don’t know about climate change but want to learn. I want to help give a voice to young people. I want to give access to action for those who want to be involved in the climate change movement, but don’t know how and where to direct their efforts. I want to play a role in moving us much closer towards our common goal of sustaining this wonderful planet we call home.

The world describes us as “confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living”. We are the generation that helped elect the first African-American president. We are the most educated generation in American history. We are the world’s most progressive generation.

We are also the first generation to realize the effects of climate change in a tangible way. And, sadly, we will be living with its consequences for decades. Headlines like this, this, and this litter our front pages.

It can be overwhelming. Depressing, even, and I wonder *sometimes* is it game over for us? Are we taking this problem seriously enough? Just look at what happened last year with the demise of climate legislation when we all “thought” THIS IS OUR MOMENT.As it turned out it wasn’t the moment we all had hoped for, but was it something more meaningful? Was it a lesson of the need to be steadfast and tenacious?

Then I look at what we, the millenials, have already achieved. It’s hard to believe that the ultimate tipping point that resulted in the election of the nation’s first African-American president would have occurred without the en masse action of the millennial movement. Would the Arab Spring’s democratic movements have spread across the Middle East without the millenials’ public protests, organization and concerted action through social media? We need to work together once again towards the most important common goal in a generation: doing something about climate change.

Others may continue to debate. Whether it’s our parents disputing in the kitchen whether climate change is real or not (A waste of time!), congress, or a talking head on TV, for us the evidence is indisputable. In a Center for American Progress report I recently read about the politics of millenials, it said:

  • More than two in three younger Americans agree with progressive perspectives on energy, sustainable living, and climate change, government efforts to protect people, and new steps to fight inequality.
  • When asked whether “America must play a leading role in addressing climate change by reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions and complying with international agreements on global warming”, 73% agreed and 38% strongly agreed.

With statistics like these it is hard not to be optimistic! And just imagine what will happen when all of us together — the youth who believe the U.S should do something—turn that belief into action? We would win!

If you are like me, you were taught in grade school to think of environmental events as being infinitely slow. But climate change is happening at a pace unparalleled in recorded history. To beat it we have to make this our space race. It is our generation’s paramount challenge. The scientific evidence is too convincing to ignore, and it is we who will bear most of the costs if the United States fails. We have a clear moral imperative, a legal right and necessity to do something.  

This is the most important fight, and we are the most important voice.

*Please send me your stories and questions!

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