CHAPTER 13 EnviromentallY

Dr Samantha Smith

Generation Y has grown up surrounded by talk of the environment and the many pressing threats to its sustainability. Issues like the greenhouse effect, reducing the vast hole in the ozone layer, saving the whales and preventing deforestation were, for many, common discussions in the classroom and at home. This exposure has resulted in an assumption that Millennials are more sensitive to environmental issues and concerns than previous generations.

In July 2013, 1500 young people came together in Melbourne to take part in Power Shift, the largest climate summit in Australia's history. Coordinated by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and featuring a number of inspirational young environmentalists, the summit began with Australia's first-ever meeting of the Youth Climate Cabinet in the City Square. Stopping the traffic, participants then proceeded en masse to the federal government offices with a banner demanding politicians ‘Aim higher on climate because our future is your mandate’.

Power Shift made it clear that there are some real standout members of Gen Y who are incredibly passionate and active when it comes to getting action on climate change. But are these vocal activists as common among this generation as we'd like to think?

Ladies and gentlemen, please shed a tear for the planet because — contrary to popular belief — it would seem not.

American psychology academics Jean ...

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