Young Activism the new hobby?

 
A story by Thars Labee

 

Standing up for your own beliefs and opinions is a new trend among the younger generation. Speaking up about diversity or/and climate change is another standard which has been set by millennials and other younger bright minds.

Why is it actually easy for them to have a say and what gives them the impression to make a difference around the globe? This blog unpacks interesting insights about the things that younger generations value compared to older generations.

Younger generations are getting more and more involved in important global issues due to technology and social media. For instance, the younger generations have more access to accurate information sources today than 50 years ago. Together with social media platforms, younger generations can actually be informed in a faster and more narrowed way which results in obtaining more knowledge and creating opinions and statements at an accelerated pace. Due to this average general knowledge, Millennials and Gen Z’s are more involved in global issues and really feel the urge to make a difference (Atlantic, 2019).

Climate Change

Millennials and Gen Z’s are more aware of global warming’s causes. However, approximately half of all the generations say that the climate is changing due to humanity. That is more or less the same however. If you compare that to the boomer generation (1946–1964), they are more sceptical and think nature is somehow responsible for the change (Kim Parker, 2019). With a fresh entrepreneurial mind and a can-do-attitude, “younger generations have broken down barriers — forging our own path to create our own type of prosperity”. Togetherness, community-feeling and cooperation are recurring factors for Millennials.

Greta Thunberg, the world-famous 16-year-old girl from Sweden who has inspired millions of people to strike for climate change. Last year, youngsters in approximately 150 countries went on the street to support and strive for solutions for the climate crisis. Greta created the Global Climate Strike which already has enormous amount of partners from all over the world. You can say, Greta, as young girl, is a huge international hit and it looks like she seriously fired up people to act instead of doing nothing. Especially among younger generations. In the meantime, Greta continues. For example, last September she was invited to hold a speech in the UN conference. “How dare you” were the words she’d thrown through the entire hall emotionally. 

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.” — Greta Thunberg. 

 

And according to PEW Research Center, the younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z’s are more likely to see links between human activity and climate change as already mentioned (III, 2019). Everything sounds so well and positive. However, it also starts to become more of a marketing technique. Companies are starting to acknowledge that youngsters actually get the attention. And governments are offended by these methods. For instance, in The Netherlands, Lars (12) did a conference in the province of Noord-Brabant about climate change and what we have to do to make it better. As reaction, a political party stated intensively that he is too young to be a climate activist and that he’s better off playing football with his friends (RTLNIEUWS, 2020).

Diversity

Also, Millennials and Gen Z’s are more tolerant in different ethnicities and accept same-sex-marriage more than previous generations. Actually, Gen Z’s stated that lesbian or gay marriage is a good thing for society in terms of inclusion and equality within society. The Baby Boomers are reaching the height of their careers. For them, diversity and inclusion just began to be discussed in the workplace. To this generation, the concept of diversity is more about integrating people of different gender, faith, ethnicity and physical ability. For them it is more of a reputational issue for their workplaces or a moral and legal imperative, than a concept that makes the workplace more pleasant. For the younger generation, diversity is a much bigger concept than the earlier mentioned concept facts. Millennials mentioned diversity and inclusion is important when applying for a new job or internship. Almost 47% claimed to have this as a restriction, this compared to the 33% of Generation X’s and 37% of Boomers according to research from 2016, KRC Research and Institute of Public Relation. Millennials and Gen Z’s concept of diversity is more about considering others’ expierences, identities and opinions. This is called cognitive diversity. 

Millennials and Gen Z’a have been proven to choose companies where communication is free and open towards team members, where ideas can be spread and where you can openly talk about issues, no matter what. These generations rather celebrate diversity than downplay them. “Part of cognitive diversity is a collaborative environment, with transparent and communicative leadership, a strong focus on teamwork and recognition of individual achievements” according to Sue Bryant who did research to different generations. Even for Generation Z’s, they are just entering society regarding job spaces and office cultures. This segment is the first generation that has actually been living their whole lives in the digital age. That results in an amazing multitasking skill and the ability to be even more global oriented and willing to interact quicker when needed to make a difference which has a social impact. Bryant mentioned: “They are coming of age in an era where freedom of expression is more important than ever and there are more ways to self-identify than their parents could ever have imagined”.

Urge to act

The amount of demonstrations is increasing. Especially among younger generations. There is an urge to act due to the willingness of having a purposeful life and wanting to contribute to a better world. In contrast to older generations. Especially, in regarding perspective on certain things. But why is the younger generation more interested in the idea of bettering the world? What are the factors that made them stand up in society? 

Turkish Activist Gül against women violence. Photo by Natasha Jahanshahi and Thirza de Raad

 

For example, the young lady Gül (24). Gül fights for domestic violence and equal rights among women in Turkey. She wants to create a dialogue in which violence against women actually gets attention and more publicity in Turkey since it is still a huge problem. Gül states: 

“One of the main reasons why I participate in the marches, is because some women are unable, or too afraid to attend the protests or expose themselves. I want to stand in their place and fight for the ones who can’t” (Raad, 2020). 

 

And she is an example of many young women who stand up in a society in which Freedom of Speaking is sometimes not a right, even in a democracy. 

Founders of the #NeverAgain movement Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

 

Another example, in America is centered around the gun violence and the shootings that happen often. David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin, Emma González, Cameron Kasky, and Alex Wind created the #NeverAgain movement which resulted in a massive nationwide protest among youngsters for having stricter gun regulations. Also, for the increasement of participation within politics and policy. They are stating that they are the future of tomorrow, so having more influence is needed. Anyway, these 5 youngsters are giving lectures and speeches in their spare time to spread the word and eventually strive for a new policy around guns (Cranley, 2019)! According to the table, it’s clear that in 2017 youngsters really wanted to participate in any form and that they also wanted to contribute to a better world for themselves as well as the future generations.

Sources

M.Hooley, A. l. (2018). Self-Criticism Impacts Emotional Responses to Pain. Massachusetts: Harvard University.

Kilminster, R. (2013). Critique and overcritique in sociology. Michigan: University of Michigan.

Kim Parker, N. G. (2019, January 19th). Generation Z Looks a Lot Like Millennials on Key Social and Political Issues. Retrieved from Pew Research Center: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/01/17/generation-z-looks-a-lot-like-millennials-on-key-social-and-political-issues/

Richard Fry, K. P. (2018). Early Benchmarks Show ‘Post-Millennials’ on Track to Be Most Diverse, Best-Educated Generation Yet. Retrieved from Pew Research Center: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/11/15/early-benchmarks-show-post-millennials-on-track-to-be-most-diverse-best-educated-generation-yet/

Atlantic, T. (2019). Getting Gen Z Primed to Save the World. Retrieved from The Antlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/allstate/getting-gen-z-primed-to-save-the-world/747/

Raad, T. d. (2020). We don’t want to die. Retrieved from The International Angle: https://theinternationalangle.com/index.php/2020/01/08/we-dont-want-to-die/

Cranley, E. (2019, October). These 10 young activists are trying to move the needle on climate change, gun control, and other global issues. Retrieved from Insider: https://www.insider.com/young-activists-climate-change-guns-greta-thunberg-2019-9#parkland-shooting-survivors-various-ages-gun-control-3

RTLNIEUWS. (2020). PVV Gelderland fel tegen klimaatactivist Lars (12): ‘Ga lekker voetballen’. Retrieved from RTL NIEUWS: https://www.rtlnieuws.nl/nieuws/artikel/4986961/pvv-gelderland-lars-12-greta-thunberg

III, W. F. (2019). From Gore to Greta: Millennials Seize the Climate Change Torch From BabyBoomers. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/williammeehan/2019/09/26/from-gore-to-greta-millennials-seize-the-climate-change-torch-from-babyboomers/#2c9db7612e25This is a story of the Futurist Club


By Science of the Time

Written by: Thars Labee

My name is Thars, I am 22 years old and currently living in The Netherlands. I study Trend Research and Concept Creation at Fontys University of Applied Science. At the moment, I am doing an internship in Cape Town, South Africa. I want to create awareness around the benefits of cycling and the effect it can have on people’s daily life in terms of Mobility, Independency, How you can save money and How it will affect their Quality of Life positively.

Furthermore, my hobbies are playing tennis, working on BALLS. The Company (own business), travelling and just getting to know different cultures in order to expand my point of view of the world. I am eager to learn from everybody! So, what is your greatest experience in life?