I’m not stupid and I’m not a science denier. I agree that hundreds of millions of people will suffer negative consequences from climate change, and many things need to be done asap to reduce the damage. I doubt, however, that our civilization will end because of climate change, although I can’t be certain, obviously.
Personally, if you must know, my last international flight was in 1995, didn’t go on vacation since 2006, don’t own a car since 2011, and reduced my meat intake greatly starting two years ago. I am a proponent of reducing meat production as much as possible, because it makes no sense whatsoever and is also ethically questionable, to say the least. So whatever triggers me it’s not because I’m a SUV driving pork muncher with a private jet 😉
So what does trigger me?
Well, when I was a teen, we were as much scared of a nuclear war as the current generation is of climate change. I am not making this up — we were scared shitless! The cold war ended 30 years ago, because a Soviet politician by the name of Gorbachev had the will and power to make sweeping changes. Some of them backfired in a really bad way — could he have known this in advance? I think not. The world is far too complex for even the brightest among us to foresee all possible consequences.
Many of our dreams were destroyed, too, just as many of this generation’s dreams were destroyed. I’m still bummed beyond belief that there are no stations on moon and mars, that nuclear fusion remains energy negative to this day, and that cancer is still a thing. I was promised all that and more as a child, and all by the year 2000. WTF went wrong? I guess the destruction of dreams happens to almost everyone alive in some form or another.
Boomers and GenX’ers have had their own impending catastrophes and fought them as hard as they could, from Vietnam to CFC/FCKW to acid rain. Yes, many if not most, may have underestimated the rate of climate change; that’s because humans generally have difficulties properly judging rapid changes. I would be surprised if that wasn’t true for Millennials and GenY’ers as well. They’re still homo sapiens, are they not? 😉
I take offence when someone is finger pointing at previous generations blaming a situation on them that — all things considered — was not so easily avoidable. The world is awfully complex, and there’s societal momentum that is hard to escape, and there are common cognitive limitations and biases that are very hard to overcome.
I take offence when someone is implying — not saying, but implying — that previous generations caused all current problems out of greed and never did anything good. It’s simply not true; especially Boomers did a lot to further the human condition, and current generations are benefitting from it greatly (and yes, they f’ed up some stuff pretty bad, too, there’s no denying that).
However, I do NOT take offence when somebody is pointing out past omissions, and lines out our common responsibilities. We ARE in this together, after all. I for one have no intentions of going away anytime soon… or ever. Even if I will go on to live on mars at age 100, Earth is and will always remain MY planet just as much as yours! So if Millennials and GenY’ers would just stop insulting our intelligence and integrity, if they’d curb their perceived righteousness just a bit, we might be able to work as one and find solutions… instead of feeling compelled to write essay-sized blog posts like these.
And lastly, mentioned only in the preventative, I am not scared by young women; maybe a bit apprehensive, but certainly not scared mindless. Neither am I a misogynist 😉