Climate Change: The Boomer Legacy
Coming from the parents of the Baby Boomer generation, they always spoke of better times throughout their upbringings compared to the world we were growing up in. However, as time went on and we learned of the real world happenings around us and what our futures may end up looking like. As the next generation in line to take on the world and its plethora of issues, one stuck out most for us: Climate Change. As the Boomers were introducing great advances like cellphones, artificial heart, DNA fingerprinting, and even the very existence of the Internet is the accomplishment of a Baby Boomer. The advances contributed from the generations before us benefited our society and is astonishing as it continues to flourish. In the hype of all of these amazing inventions, not many were reflecting on the oil spills wreaking havoc on the eco-systems around the Gulf of Mexico or the amount of plastic waste deteriorating the ozone or the rise of the CO? levels rapidly increasing at alarming rates. After all this, have the environmental sacrifices made to achieve greatness in the world around us from previous generations fallen onto the future generations to mend before the deterioration of our Earth is irretrievable?
For each generation they are labeled a nickname for the next to know them by. The Baby Boomers are the generation of adults in current day that we conceived by the Silent Generation following the 2 World Wars and are to history the largest in population among the generations recorded thus far. As the generation aged, so did the ideas among them. This is the generation that gave us Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Samuel L. Jackson, and many more. They made many advances throughout their years, endured drastic changes to our society such as ending segregation and advancements of our rights and as a society. However, as they helped advance us into a new millennium, some things fell short and neglected for instance, our planet and its many ecosystems and the oceans around it. While on the climb to success, many of these were met with the facts that if they continued the path of environmental destruction, there would not be a planet left to advance on. On June 23, 1988 a young Boomer himself, NASA scientist James Hansen made a case to the US Senate with research stating that it was time to acknowledge climate change was a present day issue and needed action.
Here we are 30 years later, we still stand here with fossil fuels burning faster than ever, CO? levels rising higher with each coming day, and currently at the highest they have ever been in the past 400,000 years. Even back in the 1970’s before extensive research was conducted, the top oil companies such as Exxon and Shell knew about the research set forth in front of them stating the facts behind climate change and the consequences that was start to accumulate if the CO? contributors like fossil fuels were growing at an immense rate and something was not done about it, that our ecosystems would start to be greatly affected in the coming years.
However, knowing that becoming more eco-friendly could potentially be the downfall of the oil industry, they instead of investing funds into greener resources and alternatives, they began to lobby against oil industry regulations and began to invest their money instead into organizations working to discredit climate science itself. Companies such as Koch were found to have funded organizations working to discredit global warming science and the experts behind all the research at hand. It was assessed that just between the years of 2005 to 2008, Koch invested roughly $25 million into funding anti-climate groups. In hopes that our politicians would help and make their legacy of the Boomer generation a green and enlightened one, the influence of the highest fossil contributors are deep within many of our politician pockets, therefore creating a divide between us and them. Studies continue to show that if we continue to delay addressing these issues for even a few more years, the consequences could create a dilemma of the affordability of maintaining a thriving livable planet. Our Baby Boomers are the leading and most well off generation thus far and have the resources and time to help get the ball rolling towards a better, more sustainable future. The question is: Is the future of the younger generation a value to our older leading generation or will it be a little too late when its finally realized that global warming shouldn’t be taken so lightly or ignored all together.
Some of label the Boomer generation as the “ generation of sociopaths” because of their unwillingness to address growing climate change. However, I feel that we need to get more Boomers on board with climate change because after all, Boomers grew up in the height of the Environment movement, some witnessing the first ever celebration of Earth Day. In recent research conducted by MIT, 57.3% of Boomers admit that they are now more concerned about the environment and their impact compared to when they were in their 20’s and also stating that 68.8% behavior about their views on the environment changed more as they’ve gotten older. I believe that these Boomers who see that we need to make these changes and quick will truly be the turning stone of our climate dilemma. The Boomers willing to see the change that needs to happen can help in ways that the younger generations cannot currently accomplish. Investment companies such as ESG Investments, a company that helps investor find eco-friendly companies to invest into has seen a rise in investors, specifically of the Boomer generation, rise 97% in the past 20 years.
By using the life skills and time Boomers have in their grasps, they can contribute more time and energy in the rise of eco-friendly actions such as volunteering clean ups and giving time to non profits seeking their ideas and advice toward a better future. Although Boomers have made their impacts some amazing ways that have progressed us in so many ways, we truly need all of us as a society on the same page fighting against the affects of climate change slowly encompassing our beautiful planet that could forever damage if we don’t come together as one to change our life choices and what we put into our environment if we want a planet for our future generations to inherit. Will it be a legacy that the Boomers see as a legacy worth leaving behind or will it fall to the younger generations after them to attempt to cure our planet after may already be too late by the time the torch is passed? It may all hang in the balances at this point.
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