Source: New York Times
Editor’s Note: The Millennial Voices series is written by and for Millennials to foster nonpartisan discussion. Ben Link is a junior at American University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. Read the entire article, including a link to Part II by clicking HERE.
In what’s being called “the largest mobilization against climate change in the history of the planet,” the People’s Climate March filled New York City’s streets with nearly 400,000 marchers on September 21st. Among the millennials in attendance were students representing more than 300 universities.
Executive Director of UPROSE, Elizabeth Yeampierre said in talking about the importance of youth involvement in the march, “[Youth] are the first and last generation that can make a difference in this global crisis. We have to work inter-generationally to build momentum for front line communities and provide our people with the resources to address this complex issue.”
According to a 2014 Pew Research poll, only 32% of Millenials feel the term “environmentalist” describes them well, which is 10+ percentage points less than older generations. However, in a 2011 Pew survey, Millenials were found to be more supportive of stricter environmental laws, more likely to attribute global warming to human activity, and more likely to favor environmentally friendly policies.
These conflicting results make sense according to Matthew Stepp, Executive Director of the Center for Clean Energy Innovation and MAP policy adviser. He explains that Millenials are simply seeking to re-envision environmentalism beyond the narrow span of strategies the term is often viewed with (i.e. making homes more green, recycling, saving the polar bears).