Young people don't care about the environment anymore.
Give it up to the millennials to claim the title of the most apathetic generation in a century, and maybe more. We won't know for sure because people didn't spend time on studies concerning young people's eco-mindedness before the 1950s. A millennial, for those who are aware of Gen-Xers but roll your eyes when you hear Generation Y, is someone in high school or university right now.
A new report says that only five per cent of these millennials take individual measures to help the environment, a decrease from the baby boomers by about 10 per cent.
I am not an environmentalist, though I do think the environment is a greater issue right now than the economy, global security or the ongoing kerfuffle between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It's even more important than Kony 2012, which I felt compelled to name drop in at least one column while the term was still relevant.
Having a healthy planet should collectively be our biggest concern because it is necessary for a prosperous future.
It's unfortunate that some people went a little overboard while raising awareness to the issue of a climate that is changing as a result of human pollution. Five years ago when this was really turning into a hot issue, some environmentalists gave projections of what the world would look like now and then five years from now. Those were probably based on absolute worst-case scenarios in order to get people to jump into action immediately.
Well, that didn't happen. The publicity campaign went so far that people called it fear mongering and started questioning the science, which was actually just fine. The greenhouse effect isn't really that difficult to wrap your head around. I think that was Grade 5 geography class with Mr. Coursey.
This all seems to have had a big impact on the millennial generation. What the doomsayers are saying is pretty scary stuff. It's too daunting for an individual to make personal changes and expect pollution to do a 180. I have never been able to figure how reducing pollution has become such an issue.
People need leadership. That leadership needs to come from the people who make the rules: our government. It would be helpful to have a clear, national environmental strategy, something that would have everyone co-ordinated in their efforts. For some reason, however, this has become a heated political issue, and a strategy so helpful is unlikely to come out of Ottawa, regardless of who controls the House.
Perhaps that's because it doesn't matter if Canada does something to fight pollution. Canada is such a small player in the global game that if nobody else follows suit, our efforts would be pointless.
That's something that is out of our control. We can at least do something in Canada. I know we're a pretty insignificant country, but maybe others will see what we're doing. If we're doing a good job, maybe they'll see the merits in joining in.
The millennials who hear all the rhetoric about the dying Earth have very little hope. If you listen to it, you might think that the only way to turn this around is if we all heat our homes with firewood, learn to ride horses and abandon the use of plastic.
It's important to show the generation that leadership is going to be a key component in dealing with this issue, that it is an important one and that they can make decisions that will have an impact.