Vice recently sat down with 9 Gen Z’ers to discuss the innvitable climate apocalypse. It seems like in this day and age, only doing the bare minimum when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint is not enough and often times leads to “eco-anxiety – the stress associated with facing a climate crisis and uncertainty about the future”.
Recently, there have been enormous outcries from Gen Z’ers with a sense of urgency to act now for the future of our planet. Many of the interviewees have changed their diets (many becoming vegans and vegetarians) and waste consumptions (eliminating packaged goods and bicycling as a form of transportation) in efforts to make a change. However, the majority still experience eco-anxiety when thinking of our world vanishing before their eyes. Most feel paralyzed with sadness and grief of not being able to do enough or completely overwhelmed as this is a much larger issue. In many cases, as children they were exposed to an environment that sparked eco-anxiety, once they understood the consequences of the world’s waste. “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly” summarizes the exact steps we, as a society need to take in order to protect our planet.
It is hard to not get stuck in a nihilist fashion of thinking that days on this planet are numbered, so why do anything or bother at all. The problem begins as a refusal to accept there is a need for any of this change, be it on a personal, social, and global aspect. Change can only happen with shake-ups in power through activism and voicing these concerns. According to an article published in The Nation, as Gen Z comes closer to the voting age in 2020 they could force many politicians into dealing with climate issues compared to any previous generations. A recent study found “42 percent of millennial Republicans recognize that climate change is caused by humans, while only 30 percent of conservative boomers do” which would profoundly impact choosing the right candidate on either side. Furthermore, climate change was ranked among the top 10 issues that would influence their decision in the upcoming election. With recent public polls showing many becoming increasingly more anxious about the inevitable climate apocalypse, failing to address this on the political fronts will hurt a party’s ability to succeed. Gen Z have stepped up to take the reigns and continue to be a driving force within the climate change conversation.