In today’s world, where climate change is a pressing concern, we need to come together and bridge the gap between the generations to find solutions that work for everyone.
I’m G.K. Hunter, the founder of Gen Unison, a nonprofit that’s uniting together members from Gen Z and the Millennial Generation with Gen X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation to prepare our communities for climate change.
In this article, we’ll talk about the generation gap and why connecting our younger and older generations is essential for addressing climate anxiety.
Why the Generation Gap Matters
The generation gap is when younger and older people have different values and priorities. We can see the Generation gap playing out when discussing solutions to climate change and community action plans.
We can see this gap in polls that ask members from various generations to weigh in on climate change.
One study by California BCBS found that members of Gen Z which includes teenagers and folks in their twenties worry the most about climate change. They’ve grown up seeing more natural disasters than the previous generations and it scares them. Gen Z reported that they have higher rates of climate anxiety than people in their thirties and forties (Millennials), people in their fifties (Gen X), those in their sixties and seventies, (Baby Boomers) as well as the Silent Generation in their eighties and nineties.
Another poll by the Pew Research Center showed that almost three-quarters of young people, like Gen Z and Millennials, think climate change is the most important problem we face and that we must make this the top priority.
But when we ask people who are 60 and older, just over half of them see it that way.
This gap in priorities becomes a problem because climate change is getting worse with hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and heatwaves happening more often. If we don’t agree on what’s most important, it shows there’s a gap between generations which can slow down community action and government aid.
Listening to Young People and Being Honest
Kalalapa Winter, a community organizer, said at a United Nations conference that kids and young folks want honesty. They’re tired of being lied to and not being taken seriously.
Sometimes, we set far-off goals like becoming “net zero” by 2045, and it can make it seem like we have a lot of time. But because we are not moving towards reaching these goals, younger people stop believing that their elders are going to show up for them.
Our youth have grown up knowing about global warming without seeing enough intervention by their elders. They watched Climate Change become the Climate Crisis, which is now being called Global Boiling. They worry about what kind of world they’ll inherit which is why youth have the highest rates for climate anxiety.
What Can We Do?
As someone who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, I saw how Global Warming turned into Global Boiling. I understand why young people today are worried that the middle and older generations are not doing enough to stabilize the planet that they are about to inherit.
They’re scared about the world they’re going to inherit.
But it’s important to know that many people from older generations, like Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, are working hard to make things better for young people. One such organization is called The Elders founded by Nobel Prize Winner Desmond Tutu, which has many former members of the United Nations who are campaigning for a better future for our youth. Climate change is already here, and we need to act fast and together to make the world safe for future generations.
This is a critical time for all of us. Leaders need to keep the promises they made in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Every town, city, and community needs to do more to fight climate change.
Gen Unison: Bringing Generations Together
Gen Unison’s goal is to bring different generations together to work on projects that make our communities stronger.
These projects include creating ponds to store water and prevent drought, installing solar panels on schools to avoid power outages, and even starting intergenerational gardens where young kids plant vegetables with their grandparents.
Most importantly, you can join our social media platform where you can share videos, photos, and blogs.Here you can network with other active community members who are starting up projects that prep communities for natural disasters and install green technologies.
We also offer online support groups through Zoom, where you can get help and talk to people from different generations who may become your next team member.
At genunison.com, we also have a mentor matching service. This can connect you with people who have the funding, knowledge, and skill sets that you need to make your project a success.
Building a Brighter Future Together
As we deal with climate change and the generation gap, Gen Unison is here to help. By bringing generations together and supporting community projects, we’re working to bridge the Generation Gap and ease climate anxiety.
Visit us at genunison.com to see the amazing projects happening around the world.
Together, we can create a better future for all generations.